So the proposed Cybercrime law has been signed by President Benigno Aquino III, making it officially a law that each and every red-blooded citizen of the Philippines has to follow. But what exactly does the law mean? Well, none of us here are lawyers, but we’ll try to break it down for you guys so you can all understand it all.
So, aside from the obvious things like prohibiting cybercrime, credit card fraud and child pornography, the Cybercrime law has some interesting provisions. Section 4 deals with illegal access, and as they define it: the access to the whole or any part of the computer system without right. This is interesting because if someone was to log-in to your PC or gain access to your account without your permission, you can now charge that person with violating the law. For example, a crazy ex of yours was to log-in to your account without your consent, you could charge him/her with violating the Anti-Cybercrime law.
We wrote about the Ant-Cybercrime law having that Cybersex provision, and yes, it’s still in there but it’s been tweaked somewhat. Under the Anti-Cybercrime law, unless you’re bumping uglies virtually for profit or favor, you’re in the clear.
Spammers, virtual or otherwise, you’re in for a rude shock. One of the provisions in the Anti-Cybercrime law is unsolicited commercial communications. The law defines unsolicited communications as the transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of a computer system which seeks to advertise, sell or offer for sale products and services. This basically means that people who send spam messages, either through your email or other electronic medium (which I summize also includes mobile phones) are now breaking the law every time they send you a message, unless there’s an option for you to opt out of it or it’s sent to convey a crucial, administrative message. So text spammers, watch out – your days are numbered.
Probably the most controversial provision of the Anti-Cybercrime law is the one for libel. Basically, you can now be charged with libel if you post libelous statements online. It’s not clear how far the law can pursue people when it comes to libelous statements online – will people be able to charge you with libel if you spread a meme message, for example – but for now the definition for libel online is the same for print.
Hopefully this clears up some of the more pressing questions about the new law. If you’d like to take a look at the full text yourself, feel free to do so here: http://www.gov.ph/downloads/2012/09sep/20120912-RA-10175-BSA.pdf.