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Attorneys of the Philippines Legal News

Welcome to our legal news pages. Here is where we provide updates about what's happening in Philippines legal news, and publish helpful articles and tips for Pinoys researching legal matters.

Senator Eyes To Penalize Facebook To End Fake News Proliferation

Facebook is a social media platform with many purposes. Aside from connecting with loved ones or catching up with friends, it is also a place for speaking one's mind and obtaining a wealth of information. However, it comes with a caveat because it has recently become a breeding ground for half-baked stories and fake news. Aside from fake news, keyboard warriors are also on the look out for someone who is on the other side of the fence. 

Fake news is said to spread digital mayhem. With multitudes of users sharing fake news every day, a senator just cannot turn a blind eye on it. Senator Francis Pangilinan wants to put a lid on spreading fake news by penalizing Facebook because of allowing misinformation to mislead users. 

Is this even a viable option? The idea is tongue-in-cheek considering the fact that any user can feign everything so long as they hide behind the Facebook curtains. Simply put, if you left your door open and a burglar broke into your house, would you pin the blame on your door when burglary occurred because of human error? 

Fake news exists because people continue to read them. At the end of the day, it all boils down to our personal choices. It is not just Facebook, it can be the demons squatting on our shoulder. The thought of penalizing Facebook is so far-fetched. Educate users about social media etiquette before anything else. Let Republic Act 10175 or Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 be a reminder to think before you click.

PUNISHABLE ACTS

SEC. 4. Cybercrime Offenses. — The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this Act:

(a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems:

(1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right.

(2) 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.

(3) 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.

(4) 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.

(5) Misuse of Devices.

(i) The use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution, or otherwise making available, without right, of:

(aa) A device, including a computer program, designed or adapted primarily for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act; or

(bb) A computer password, access code, or similar data by which the whole or any part of a computer system is capable of being accessed with intent that it be used for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this Act.

(ii) The possession of an item referred to in paragraphs 5(i)(aa) or (bb) above with intent to use said devices for the purpose of committing any of the offenses under this section.

(6) 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, if such a domain name is:

(i) Similar, identical, or confusingly similar to an existing trademark registered with the appropriate government agency at the time of the domain name registration:

(ii) Identical or in any way similar with the name of a person other than the registrant, in case of a personal name; and

(iii) Acquired without right or with intellectual property interests in it.

(b) Computer-related Offenses:

(1) Computer-related Forgery. —

(i) 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; or

(ii) The act of knowingly using computer data which is the product of computer-related forgery as defined herein, for the purpose of perpetuating a fraudulent or dishonest design.

(2) 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: Provided, That if nodamage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.

(3) 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: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.

(c) Content-related Offenses:

(1) Cybersex. — 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.

(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775.

(3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. — The transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless:

(i) There is prior affirmative consent from the recipient; or

(ii) The primary intent of the communication is for service and/or administrative announcements from the sender to its existing users, subscribers or customers; or

(iii) The following conditions are present:

(aa) The commercial electronic communication contains a simple, valid, and reliable way for the recipient to reject. receipt of further commercial electronic messages (opt-out) from the same source;

(bb) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely disguise the source of the electronic message; and

(cc) The commercial electronic communication does not purposely include misleading information in any part of the message in order to induce the recipients to read the message.

(4) Libel. — 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.

Enactment Of IP Rights Protection Law: The Answer To Digital Piracy

On Tuesday, April 26, the world celebrated Intellectual Property (IP) Day. Since the Philippines is not spared from digital piracy, several groups demand for the enactment of IP rights protection law. Although there are currently two laws covering digital piracy, Republic Act 10175 is one of them, the country does not have specific legislation that will penalize those who violate anti-piracy law.

Aside from the two existing laws, there is another bill being proposed that can be fused into the current laws covering digital piracy. House Bill 6187 or better known as the Anti-Online Piracy Act was waiting for enactment. It has been filed in 2012 and the bill puts more emphasis on the protection of IP rights.

Due to the access of Internet users to various sources of information, anything can be copied in a few clicks.  Even though the violation of the current laws is evident, the agencies’ hands are tied because there are no formal complaints being filed. As of 2011, there are only 15 digital piracy convictions made. For five years, there are only a total of 15 cases of digital piracy and this is because of the lack of stricter enforcement of anti-piracy law. Here’s an overview of the laws covering digital piracy:

Republic Act No. 8293

“Sec. 2. Declaration of State Policy. - The State recognizes that an effective intellectual and industrial property system is vital to the development of domestic and creative activity, facilitates transfer of technology, attracts foreign investments, and ensures market access for our products. It shall protect and secure the exclusive rights of scientists, inventors, artists and other gifted citizens to their intellectual property and creations, particularly when beneficial to the people, for such periods as provided in this Act.

The use of intellectual property bears a social function. To this end, the State shall promote the diffusion of knowledge and information for the promotion of national development and progress and the common good.

It is also the policy of the State to streamline administrative procedures of registering patents, trademarks and copyright, to liberalize the registration on the transfer of technology, and to enhance the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Philippines.”

Republic Act No. 10175

“SEC. 2. Declaration of Policy. — The State recognizes the vital role of information and communications industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasting electronic commerce, and data processing, in the nation’s overall social and economic development. 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. In this light, the State shall adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat such offenses by facilitating their detection, investigation, and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.”

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