Cybercrime law constitutional – SC

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The Supreme Court rules most provisions of the beleaguered Cybercrime Prevention Act are constitutional

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court rules the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act constitutional.
Which provisions get shut down, and which ones are upheld?
Buena Bernal reports.

The Supreme Court rules most provisions of the beleaguered Cybercrime Prevention Act are constitutional.
Seen by critics as the muzzling of online expression, the law’s libel provision was declared constitutional but covers only the original author of the material.

TED TE, SUPREME COURT SPOKESMAN: The Court also ruled on the constitutionality of online libel when it further declared that Section 4(c)(4), which penalizes online or cyber libel, is not unconstitutional with respect to the original author of the post but unconstitutional only where it penalizes those who simply receive the post or react to it.

The law became the flashpoint of online protests in 2012.
Activists say the decision is an affront to civil liberties.

RENATO REYES, BAYAN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Maaring hindi ginagawang krimen ang pag-like, pag-share or pag-react o pag-comment sa isang post pero yung original author ay nandoon pa din yung banta sa kanya na puede siyang kasuhan ng libel. And that could be anyone. That could be everyone.
(Liking, sharing, reacting or commenting to a [libelous] post may not be a crime but there is still the threat of being tagged a criminal and facing a libel suit for the original author. And that could be anyone. That could be everyone.)

National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Cybercrime Division Chief Ronald Aguto welcomes the court decision saying the law’s mandated data-retention will make prosecuting cyber criminals easier.

ATTY RONALD AGUTO, NBI CYBERCRIME DIVISION CHIEF: I understand this will be an additional cost to the telecommunication companies. But as far as the law enforcement is concerned, it would be a good and a very effective tool for us to get the necessary informations from the telcos and the ISPs.

BUENA BERNAL, REPORTING: The cybercrime law takes effect after the drafting and publication of its implementing rules and regulation.
As its implementation draws near, it is now up to netizens to judge whether the law tramples on fundamental freedoms or is a reasonable form of government control.
Buena Bernal, Rappler, Manila

Hacker typing on a laptop with binary code in background image from Shutterstock


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