WITH the recent incidences of hacking, the Congress is expected to make as priority bill the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2009, which was passed on the second reading last year.

The bill will impose stiff penalties and punishment on computer fraud, abuses and other cyber-related criminal activities, according to Deputy Speaker Eric Singson, who is one of the principal authors of the bill.

Click here for stories and updates on the Sinulog 2010 Festival.

“With the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) now investigating the alleged website hackers, it is imperative for Congress to act on this measure now,” Singson said.

Earlier, House Speaker Prospero Nograles gave the go signal for the final approval of the Cybercrime bill authored by Singson with Marikina City Representative Marceline Teodoro and Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara.

The call to fast-track the passage of the bill occurred after the series of hacking events that transpired only this January on government websites such as Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Disaster Coordinating Council and the Department of Labor and Employment.

“The bill’s passage is long overdue and we should not wait for any grave threat to national security to push for the bill’s approval,” Teodoro lamented.

Angara said the bill covers all forms of cyber communication devices such as Internet, cellular phones and other computers.

The punishable acts listed under measure include illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference and misuse of devices.

This shall also cover "computer-related offenses such as computer forgery, computer-related fraud, cybersex, child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications and other offense such as aiding or abetting the commission of cybercrime."

“No technology is perfect. Somewhere must be a loophole, and this is what hackers try to find out,” Nograles said.

The House Speaker also expressed confidence that a probe similar to the investigation done during the infamous I LOVE YOU virus in which a young Filipino was proven to be a culprit is undertaken by concerned government agencies. Congress must update public policies and laws to arm government of the needed legal weapons against such system inference like hacking. (Angela Casauay/Sunnex)