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Cyber Bullshit – or why it’s more difficult to take on the government with RA 10175 October 2, 2012

Posted by quiapo in badtrip na naman si pierre, Gripes / Flames / Rants, Musings / Random Thoughts.
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Note: I’m writing this on the night before the Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Act or Republic Act 10175 takes effect.

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Well, the title of the law itself is absurd… When you say cybercrime prevention act, should the goal of the law be to prevent cyber-crime or to punish entities that committed cyber-crime? Or are we in the world of Minority Report, and pre-crime is considered a crime?

The sections contained within the cyber-crime law are not for cyber crime prevention, but for punishment of “cyber-crimes” that the law’s authors deem to be so significant their punishment is one notch higher than those imposed by the country’s revised penal code. And the weird thing is that there’s almost no preventive solution to cyber crime that was mentioned in the cyber crime prevention act.

Now, from the title alone, it seems that the law itself wasn’t well thought of, and the details of RA 10175 show that the writing is pretty vague and the writers seem to be out of touch or not fully knowledgeable about the dynamics of cyberspace.

RA 10175 was crafted to put controls into the “brave new world” of cyberspace. Lawmakers have romanticized that the internet was a wild jungle wherein there were no laws, and poor citizens are very vulnerable to attacks on cyberspace. Thus, there is a need to enact laws to protect the citizens, like a new colony that is starting to establish order. The emergence of “cyber bullying” and hacking scares puts some legitimacy for the need of a law on cyberspace. However…

WTF is this BULLSHIT law that they made?!

The cyber libel section is the most controversial of all provisions of RA 10175, and as has been repeated over the internet, it curtails the freedom of speech that all should enjoy. Apart from losing the right to freedom of speech, this law can be used to harass ordinary people to keep their online mouths shut.

A year ago, I discovered edited photos passed on as real images by the Philippine government’s Department of Public Works and Highways in their Facebook page. I posted the photo on this blog, it got re-posted several times on Facebook until it was noticed and became a national topic.

If this law was active then, the DPWH could have filed an online libel complaint against my blog post with the DOJ, and since both of them are government agencies, the DOJ would have probably agreed with the DPWH’s position and shut down my blog.

They could have done this without any trial at all, and they could have done it swiftly, before the news on the altered photos exploded all over the internet. And when the take-over clause shuts down my blog without that issue going into critical mass, the DPWH would not have been correctly criticized by netizens. They could have just shoved a middle finger up my online ass and not acknowledged the altered photo, not to mention that they would have never issued a public apology and “punished” the erring employee behind the altered photo.

And from that, not only was my freedom of expression violated, but I would have been harassed legally, perhaps even financially because if charges were filed against me, I’d have to hire a lawyer. My job would have also been affected and my privacy violated, because they could confiscate my phone, my laptop, and my computer to get more evidence against me. I’d also have to attend court hearings, so I have to take a leave of absence from work.

And if they found porn or any torrents in any of my electronic devices? Boom. I’d be guilty on two more counts of RA 10175.

All that hassle, because the DPWH posted a stupid altered photo on their fb page.

Now, if you aren’t me, if you’re the type who shies away from conflict and wants to live an ordinary peaceful life, you might have thought that “hey, all that hassle isn’t worth it, I’m just going to ignore the government’s stupidity and go on with my life.” And if you did that, imagine how many other people would do that.

And if netizens fell silent because of this law, we’d have that fucking ugly BATANGAS sign on Taal Volcano right now. That’s how stupidly oppressive RA 10175 is.

AAAAAAND lets not forget the other trespasses, such as the one on online piracy. As was experienced in the fight against PIPA and SOPA in the US, this law will target ordinary citizens and make them liable for sharing files over the internet. This is a lazy solution to combat piracy, and shifts the focus from combating those that create “pirated” software with sophisticated means of hiding themselves on the net, to hapless ordinary citizens. Btw, torrents/file sharing per se is valid under our rights to freedom of expression.

And the part on cybersex?! That’s just stupid and prude of Angara to include this when in fact he should have made this section against CYBER-PROSTITUTION. Is having sex a crime? No. So why is cybersex a crime then?! When I read this part, I just felt bad for all the OFWs that are craving for a little bit of intimacy from their partners here in the Philippines. Oh, online porn viewing (and storage on hard drives) just became crimes as well. Because viewing porn on a computer is considered cybersex. Just fucking ridiculous.

This was a law, written by an old guy who doesn’t fully comprehend the internet, with a stupid online-libel section added by a plagiarist, voted into law by senators who didn’t even read the entire law, signed by a president who professes to lead us into a “matuwid na daan” but uses Apple Maps to plot out the way.

Dear Philippine Legislature, I’m very disappointed. I pay taxes, I pay a lot of money on taxes, approximately 30% of my salary on withholding taxes.

I DEMAND A BETTER GOVERNMENT WORTHY OF MY HARD EARNED MONEY.

AND I DEMAND THAT THIS LAW BE NULLIFIED.

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