Cybercrimes need attention
Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
President Aquino recently signed Republic Act 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, that will punish libel online and combat Internet-related offenses in the country. Punishable acts under the new law are offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of any computer data system; computer-related forgery; fraud and identity theft; as well as content-related offenses such as cybersex and child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications and cyber squatting. RA 10175 also punishes online libel.
A society that has become more and more dependent on computers and the Internet will need a law that can define and punish various cybercrimes that are not yet covered by our current laws. The new law mandates the creation of the Office of Cybercrime within the Department of Justice and an inter-agency Cybercrime Investigation and Coordination Center that is under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President. It allocates P50 million annually for the implementation of the law.
The Internet is fast becoming one of the biggest and most lucrative marketplaces in the planet, and it has naturally attracted a lot of tech-savvy criminals who are continuously finding ways to scam people of their hard earned money. If this new law is to be effective, it has to be ready to adapt as quickly as technology is evolving.
Aside from its ability to effectively counter cybercrimes that will be perpetrated by a smarter breed of criminals, another worrying aspect of the RA 10175 is how it has made online libel illegal when it could hijack the noble intent of the law when onion skinned politicians and personalities will surely be wasting valuable resources on persecuting free speech on the Internet when those limited resources should be focused on more serious cybercrimes. It would be a shame to see this bill lose sight of its primary purpose of protecting the public from the real cybercriminals and is instead used as a blunt instrument by the close-minded members of society to quash intelligent discussions and the free flow of opinions regarding the relevant issues affecting our country on the Internet. We can only hope that the government agencies responsible for enforcing this Cybercrime Prevention Bill can manage to keep their priorities straight and focus on being one step ahead, in terms of technology and ability, of the enemy.*