MANILA, Philippines – As the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 takes effect on Wednesday, October 3, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to find out who were behind the hacking of government websites Tuesday and Wednesday.
The website of the Philippine government (www.gov.ph) was hacked at the strike of midnight on October 3, while the websites of the Philippine National Police, the Intellectual Property Office, the Police Community Relations Group and the Maritime Industry Authority, were hacked on October 2.
Other government websites previously hacked include the Philippine Information Agency, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Philippine Nuclear Research Insitute and the National Telecommunications Commission.
“They will trace who the hackers are and apprehend them,” De Lima said in a text message. “For this purpose, they need to coordinate with the intel units of other investigative bodies.”
De Lima’s orders came as Malacañang called on critics of the law to dialogue with government instead of hacking its websites.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Palace respects efforts to question the law, both before the Supreme Court and through amendments.
“In the meantime, we believe there is an opportunity for reasonable discourse between concerned stakeholders and the Department of Justice. This dialogue can address stakeholder concerns as the Implementing Rules and Regulations are drafted.”
A group called Anonymous Philippines has claimed responsibility for hacking the government websites. They said they also plan to hack the websites of Senate, the Office of the President, the House of Representatives, among others.
The group said Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime law “poses serious threats to Internet freedom, the right to privacy and other essential civil liberties including the freedom of speech, expression, and the press.”
The law criminalizes libel, increases penalties for crimes under the Revised Penal Code to one degree and authorizes the Department of Justice to shut down websites that contain harmful content based on prima facie evidence.
Nine petitions have been filed against the law. De Lima said they have opposed the inclusion of online libel in the Cybercrime law.
Malacañang said the government though has not used the law to encroach on the constitutional rights of freedom of expression and speech.
“We would therefore like to point out that no government entity has moved to deprive anyone of access to the Internet or to suppress civil liberties as exercised online,” it said. “Hackers who claim to be aligned with critics of the law are the ones who have engaged in online vandalism.” – Rappler.com
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