Toral: Cybercrime law-A A +A
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
WHEN the Cybercrime Law (Republic Act 10175) came out, I was one of many that welcomed its passage. Being exposed to victims of hacking and anonymous libel attacks usually takes a great toll on the victim and their loved ones. Why? You are usually helpless as an online attacker with no clear identity means there is no clear person to sue.
It also makes it hard to build a prima facie evidence unless data is available for one to discover the possible identity of attackers - if service providers will cooperate.
More often that not, this doesn’t happen unless a court order is served. If the site is hosted overseas, such as free blogs, it makes things further complicated.
In these situations, most victims coming from low economic class often lose heart and no longer pursue a case. However, those who are determined try their best to get what they want done.
The Cybercrime Law made clear the role of the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Justice to assist victims or complainants in the prosecution of cases, their data access, evidence handling and case monitoring.
With an annual budget allotted, I hope our law enforcement agencies will be able to get the training, upgrades, manpower, and equipment they need to cope with the modern world.
I hope one day to see law enforcers able to capture those who hack government websites and those who make attacks on other people’s reputation, especially fabricated lies, against private or public individuals with the use of anonymous identities.
However, legal experts expressed their concern on the constitutionality of the law.
They worry it may lead to double jeopardy, as a person can be charged under the Revised Penal Code and Cybercrime at the same time, having cumulative penalties in the process. Although I don’t agree with that understanding, a law can be subject to multiple interpretations.
Rather than debate and argue, I feel it is best that citizens file a petition with the Supreme Court (SC) to strike down sections that are deemed unconstitutional. If the SC says that the Cybercrime Law is valid (or its remaining sections after nullification of provisions), at least we can all proceed in monitoring to ensure that the law will be implemented fairly and not abused.
There are many ongoing moves online asking for the entire Cybercrime Law to be repealed. I hope it will not reach that point, as there are sections in it that are still fair, in my opinion, and can be helpful in giving law enforcers the resources they need to assist complainants and victims.
We live in a modern world where online attacks can be carried out by almost anyone using false identities, just as the Internet has empowered each one of us in using it for good. We need new regulations to protect us from the possible chaos and not be legally helpless.
I pray that our justices will be swift and fair in deciding on the fate of the Cybercrime Law.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 03, 2012.