THE Philippine National Police has raised anew a warning to the public on using the internet for personal gains.

Superintendent Reynante Reyes, chief of the Police Regional Office’s (PRO)-Northern Mindanao Cybercrime Group in Camp Alagar, said his office will not hesitate to arrest violators of Republic Act (RA) 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, and bring them to justice.

Reyes said RA 10175 penalizes hackers and those that spread viruses in the computer through the internet, which destabilizes the security of government files and data.

He said that in 2000, when the country has no law yet against cybercrimes, authorities were forced to drop charges against two Filipino hackers. Not long after, the E-Commerce Law was enacted.

However, a stronger law was still needed to address other cybercrimes.

This prompted Congress to initiate several pieces of legislation but without success.

More than a decade later, RA 10175 was passed and signed into law in September 2012 by President Benigno Aquino III.

RA 10175 is an act defining cybercrime, providing for the provision, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties and for other purposes.

Under Section 2 of this law, it pronounces that “the State recognizes the vital role of information and communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic commerce, and data processing… the State also recognizes the importance of providing an environment conducive to the development, acceleration, and rational application and exploitation of information and communications technology (ICT) to attain free, easy, and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information; and the need to protect and safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts.”

Reyes cited crimes committed through the internet include offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems, such as illegal access (The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right); illegal interception (The interception made by technical means without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data); data interference (The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction or transmission of viruses).

The law also penalizes violators for system interference (The intentional alteration or reckless hindering or interference with the functioning of a computer or computer network by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data or program, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right or authority, including the introduction or transmission of viruses); Misuse of devices (The use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution, or otherwise making available, without right) and cyber-squatting (The acquisition of a domain name over the internet in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputation, and deprive others from registering the same), Reyes added.

Also, there are computer-related offenses such as computer-related forgery (The input, alteration, or deletion of any computer data without right resulting in inauthentic data with the intent that it be considered or acted upon for legal purposes as if it were authentic, regardless whether or not the data is directly readable and intelligible); Computer-related fraud (The unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent); and computer-related identity theft (The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right).

Reyes also emphasizes the content–related offenses on computer such as cybersex or the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration; Child pornography or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system; and Unsolicited commercial communications or the transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seeks to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless there is prior affirmative consent from the recipient.

This law also includes the Libel or the unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future; aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime; and attempt in the commission of cybercrime

“Be wary of cybercrime offenses. Beware before it’s too late,” Reyes warned.