Technology and the Law: The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, a comprehensive framework of management and security of Information and Communications Technology

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Ten or twenty years ago, while circumstances posed an array of what seemed like impossibilities, modern society now have evolved into a system of continuous growth that opened up limitless developments and made the impossible, quite reachable. Technology has undeniably become part of our everyday lives. Through simple text messages as a means of constant communication, to casual participation in social networking sites, or research in the massive information library that is the internet, we have acquired certain dependence in technology. But while progress is inevitable, like any other change, our society must adapt with means that would not only foster its advantages but would also protect the public from disadvantages caused either unintentionally or with malice. Prying entities working for their own interests would always be an existing evil and herein comes the necessity of law and justice to frame what is right, what is wrong, the punishment for the commission of the latter, and specifics of the circumstances.

Information and Communication system in the Philippines and all over the world have served the vital yet practical purpose of promoting not only communication but also its various agendas for the betterment of the public. It is a faster means of disseminating information and at the same time encourages government transparency. Clearly it has played an imperative role in disaster management as when people from different parts of the country made known of their need during the wrath of typhoons in real time, through social networking.

The aforementioned reasons yield the monumental importance to create a defining law that would enable the State to reasonably promote and control the influx of information and communications technology in the country; for it to be meaningfully used for advantageous ends rather than expose it to be used for erroneous purposes due to lack of proper laws in force.

In 2012, Republic Act 10175 also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was passed, where the law aimed to ‘Define cybercrime, provide for the prevention, investigation, suppression and the imposition of penalties therefor and for other purposes’. While it seemed a good move for legislation, the law was however, met with various criticisms not only from ordinary citizens but as well as from the legal profession. Consequent thereto, several cases were filed questioning the constitutionality of the said law. The petitioners claimed that several provisions of the law were violative of certain constitutional rights; of which the Supreme Court opted to issue a 120-day temporary restraining order to stop the implementation of the same. Thereafter, on February 18, 2014 the Supreme Court issued their ruling[i] holding most of the law’s provisions as constitutional. On the other hand the court also ruled some provisions as unconstitutional, noteworthy of which are the “takedown clause”[ii] and the “real-time collection of traffic data”[iii] of which the petitioners relied heavily on the argument that said provisions were an affront on the right to privacy, freedom of expression and the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Another significant provision[iv] of the law concerning what petitioners argue would result to double jeopardy was declared unconstitutional but only with respect to libel and child pornography cases.

In light of the several lapses of the Cybercrime law, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago filed on November 12, 2012, Senate Bill 53 entitled Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. The Senator purports it to be an “Anti-cybercrime law version 2.0, that she claims, unlike the law it seeks to replace, does not suffer from over breadth and vagueness in its provision”. [v]The Senate bill is an innovative piece of legislation that would be inimical to both the improvement of ICT in the country and its protection from cyber crimes.

One notable change in the proposed bill was that Internet libel would only constitute civil liability and not criminal liability which opines the idea of decriminalizing libel. Said decriminalization has long been advocated by many but until now it has yet to materialize. In fact the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) expressed in a resolution, that the “Philippines’ libel law is discordant with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that upholds free expression as a right”[vi]. In meting out civil liability rather than penal, it is a step closer to finally making grounds to build a suitable foundation of this warranted change. There shall be no more oppression of expression for fear of criminal prosecution, especially in the field of information and communication that is so broad and accessible that it provides for the best means of government transparency.

In analyzing the proposed bill, fortunately more than half if not wholly in my estimation is adequate enough to address the issues regarding ICT. However, there are still some provisions which may be further enhanced through certain revisions and clarifications.

Section 5 paragraph (b)[vii] pertaining to suspension or limitation of universal access to the internet as an accessory penalty may still need certain parameters to become effective. First, certain standards must be set on how the Cybercrime court shall determine the period of suspension of the same. Solely relying in the courts discretion may prove to be too vague. It is of my opinion that there must be certain guidelines to achieve at least a certain amount of uniformity. Second, if only the person accused is given the said penalty prior to final conviction, how can the State be so certain that no other person under said accused’ employ would secure access in place of the former when the internet is definitely so easily accessible in these modern world. Perhaps additional provisions may be added as to what extent the accessory penalty may be given.

Section 5 paragraph (c)[viii] in my estimation should also be clarified with regard to the standards of which any hotel, restaurant, commercial establishment, school, religious group, organization, or association may restrict access, or limit the content accessible. In which case, what would constitute ‘reasonable ground’ and should there be substantial proof of said ground if there be any inquiry as to the same? Providing additional qualifications as to how to determine ‘reasonable ground’ may be needed.

Section 10 paragraphs (d) and (e)[ix] of the bill provides for the presumption of knowledge of the parents or guardian of a minor with regard to terms of an end user license agreement as well as in cases of its infringement. In my opinion said provision must be given certain qualifications for said presumption. Such as evaluating the actual knowledge or understanding of a minor with regard to the license agreement. In reality it is highly unlikely for every parent to know each and every end user license agreement entered into by their children especially with the ease of access to the internet nowadays.

With due regard to the provisions on Hacking and Cracking[x] it might be more to the advantage of the proposed bill to use more technical terms to solidify the difference of interference that is legal, as when resorted to by the government for its own protection or those that are illegal of which serves a malicious purpose. For it is known in the professional IT world that not all forms of hacking constitute malice or would be considered illegal in nature.

Section 52 paragraph (ii)[xi] enunciates the need for a call for the commission of illegal acts for an internet hate speech to be punishable, however it fails to provide whether such call must always be express for the same to be considered within the purview of the violation. Suppose in certain instances where a publisher of said internet hate speech did not expressly call for a commission of illegal acts but as to the manner of presentation it is likely to incite others to do the same. Should it then be punishable or not? Further if in said implication rather than an express call of commission of illegal acts against a person or a class of persons, there be committed actual harm to the latter should it then be considered as an internet hate speech? The same must be properly addressed in qualifying the aforementioned necessity of the ‘call’.

The Cybercrime law of which said bill aims to repeal in its entirety also provided for a provision relating to Cyber-squatting[xii], however it delves in dangerous grounds as the question arises on whether the government may intervene in the activity of which is solely within the regulatory power of a private entity. It is the Internet Corporation for Assigned Name and Numbers (ICANN) that is responsible for monitoring whether its clients are indeed acting within the definition of Cyber-squatting. As such, in the proposed bill, the provision on Cyber-squatting was altered[xiii] in that the said act would be subject to both the Intellectual Property Code and relevant laws, as well as policies by the ICANN. In light of this, it is important to include in the Cybercrime Court’s jurisdiction that as to whether there be any question as to the legality of the ICANN policies, said court may rule on the same.

Since the use of the internet and other forms of electronic communications is rampant in our society, so much so that it is not even uncommon for a minor to own a cellular phone or an ipad, I concur that the bill must also provide for a mechanism to incorporate in our education system awareness as to make known to the young generation the basic protection they need in engaging in the worldwide web, or in something as simple as texting, as well as the consequences as to any thoughtless ’click’, ‘share’ and ‘comment’ that they may openly publish to the world. Prevention is always better than cure, it makes immense difference when a person knows early on what he can and cannot do, both for his own protection, as well as the State’s, most especially with respect to a continuously evolving ICT in the country.

In probing through the proposed bill and if it is indeed passed and implemented as a law it shall undeniably cause certain effects on different sectors, changes that may prove to be costly but may prove to be worth the risk in the near future. Let us then forgo a prediction on these possible effects.

The Magna Carta for Internet Freedom was the product of crowdsourcing[xiv], where a group of concerned citizens including IT specialists, members of the academe, bloggers, lawyers, software designers, and engineers approached the Senator to have her champion their cause of drafting the said bill. Incredibly all this had started on discussions on social media, which aptly fits the subject of controversy. In effect, if the bill is passed it might serve as a starting point to a more responsive public in participating in legislation, working hand in hand with Congress in promoting the best interest of the public. Indeed cementing the extent of democracy in the country.

Further, in providing more specific qualifications of what shall constitute prohibited acts, the constitutional rights of the public remains respected. Worth mentioning therein is the expounded definition and elements of Internet libel specifically stating that it shall apply to remarks made both to natural and juridical persons. It maintains the balance of right to expression as to the individual rights of another where it provides that expressions of protest and dissatisfaction towards the government, officers, agents, instrumentalities and the like, as well as with non-government organizations, and commercial entities shall not be deemed as libelous.

The inevitability of the need for management of the ICT in the country through laws shall provide good business to Internet service providers or telecommunications entities chosen by the government in implementing its duties. However, this commercial advantage comes hand in hand with vital obligations especially since it is not only imbued with public interest but it involves the security of the country’s ICT. They must not tread lightly in performing their responsibilities so much so that Section44[xv] of the bill demand reasonable security for data and networks and in failing to do so the presumption of criminal negligence stands when such negligent failure occurs. Section 8 paragraph (e)[xvi] also provides for the same duty with regard to the State. To achieve the primary purpose of the bill both the State and the private sectors must fulfill their tasks jointly and with due regard to each other’s performance.

The Magna Carta entails several reorganizations, including markedly the creation of a Department of Information and Communication Technology[xvii] which shall primarily be the administrative entity of the executive branch of the government in developing the Philippines’ ICT sector. In truth, the process shall necessitate the disbursement of huge amounts of money which in part forms a disadvantage. However, it is a crucial part of development of which shall provide a more centralized management of ICT ensuring uniformity and a more specialized approach whereby the focus is not subdivided depending on which department of the government is covered. Rather, it is a functioning body that is the focal point of ICT in the country. It shall also be responsible for its subdivisions who shall provide a more focused management that shall be duly reported to the main offices. The Council of Chief Information Officers shall make possible the sectoral representation of government departments, constitutional bodies, the academe, LGUs among others. Several organizations shall then also be attached to the DCIT, such as the National Telecommunication Commission, National Data Privacy Commission, Telecommunications office, the National Computer Center and the National Telecommunications Training Institute combined into the National Information and Communications Technology Institute. The convergence of said bodies formerly independent of each other shall promote a more in sync performance for the improvement and security of ICT in the Philippines.

In the same breadth a Court of Cybercrime[xviii] shall also be established of which shall be composed of judges who have an academic or professional background as well as a proven high degree of competence in ICT. The same shall ensure that the body of judges hearing and ruling on matters regarding IC T has certain expertise and knowledge, instead of having the more challenging task of needing to elaborate on technical terms not ordinarily familiar to the common judge of the trial courts.

Creating  a comprehensive framework of management, protection, and mechanisms towards an improved ICT shall also unify through amendments several laws already passed such as the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines (RA7925), the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines (RA 8293), the E-Commerce Act of 2000 (RA 8792), and the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10173). Most importantly, the passing of this bill shall repeal in its entirety the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) of which in my opinion still lacks several safeguards not only to ICT itself but to the rights granted to individuals in the Constitution. Just recently, immediately after the US President Barrack Obama’s State visit in the Philippines, the country has been removed from the US black list of countries where rampant piracy exist, supposedly due to its endeavors to pass laws relating to Intellectual property[xix]. As such, in encompassing suitable amendments in the Intellectual Property Code incorporating the provisions relating to the proposed bill, it may ensure that we are safeguarding are place outside and farther away from any black list of any country.

The integration of a more solid law encompassing ICT shall also be a step towards becoming internationally adept, competent and able to perform equally with other countries, as well as provide an economic boost. Section 33[xx] of the bill also solidifies the intent of the State to reaffirm compliance with international law, in that it maintains respect to treaties and international conventions. At the same time the proposed bill also provides for mechanisms of protection in instances of cybercrimes involving the government’s protection and security against foreign states employing cyber-terrorism or cyber-espionage. Clearly it is a central concern most especially during the recent cyber attacks made on crucial government sites allegedly by Chinese hackers. If the Magna Carta is passed, given proper and strict implementation, we could only hope that said disruption would never again occur to the detriment and embarrassment of our Government.

With maximum ICT protection in mind, the proposed bill shall also demand several law enforcement agencies to up its game per se in connection to internet and telecommunications competency and ‘tech savvy’. Section 65[xxi] states the roles of the Department of Justice, National Bureau of Investigation, and the Philippine National Police with respect to the enforcement of the law relating to Cybercrime.

In view of this several departments solely fixated on matters of ICT, it may become a promising start of a boost in the academe, of students wanting to pursue ICT related college courses with the prospect of the various jobs created by the aforementioned reorganizations. If so, looking forward in the near future our ICT may further be developed with emerging promising graduates with fresh minds and eager dispositions to serve the government.

In summation, the State aims to exert profitable control and engender a comprehensive mechanism for the protection of Information and Communications Technology in the country and this proposed piece of legislation is a stepping stone to achieve the same. Emphasizing its innovation as a law, if passed, produced from ‘crowdsourcing’ and perhaps even open up possibilities of garnering improvements on the draft through the same process, it is indeed a cemented stamp on the rights and privileges granted by democracy. With the solidity of the Cybercrime act still in question, we can only hope that the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom may still be enacted to repeal the controversial RA 10175.

 

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[i] G.R. No. 203335, February 18, 2014

[ii] SEC. 19. Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data. — When a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data.

[iii] SEC. 12. Real-Time Collection of Traffic Data. — Law enforcement authorities, with due cause, shall be authorized to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.

Traffic data refer only to the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service, but not content, nor identities.

All other data to be collected or seized or disclosed will require a court warrant.

Service priders are required to cooperate and assist law enforcement authorities in the collection or recording of the above-stated information.

The court warrant required under this section shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and the showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been committed, or is being committed, or is about to be committed: (2) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that evidence that will be obtained is essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such evidence.

 

[iv] SEC. 7. Liability under Other Laws. — A prosecution under this Act shall be without prejudice to any liability for violation of any provision of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, or special laws.

[v] Macaraig, A. “Miriam proposes new anti-cybercrime law”
http://www.rappler.com/nation/17045-miriam-proposes-new-anti-cybercrime-law
last retrieved: 05/03/14

[vi] Alexander Adonis v. The Philippines, Communication No. 1815/2008, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/103/D/1815/2008/Rev.1 (2012). 

[vii] Section 5. Promotion of universal access to the Internet. –

xxx

(b) A person’s right to unrestricted access to the Internet may, upon discretion of the appropriate Cybercrime Court whose jurisdiction is defined in this Act, be suspended as an accessory penalty upon final conviction for any of the following criminal offenses:

(i) The felonies of robbery, theft, estafa, falsification, malversation, and usurpation of authority or official functions, as defined in appropriate penal laws, committed by through or using the Internet or information and communications technology;

(ii) Any criminal offense defined and punishable in the following special penal laws: the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 (RA 9208), the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (RA 6713), the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001 (RA 9160), the Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262), the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation, and Discrimination Act (RA 7610), the Child and Youth Welfare Code (PD 603), the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (RA 9775), the Human Security Act of 2007 (RA 9732), or the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10173), committed through or using the Internet or information and communications technology; or

(iii) Any criminal offense defined and punishable by this Act.

The right of person accused of any of the above offenses to unrestricted access to the Internet may be suspended or limited by the court of competent jurisdiction pending final judgment upon a showing, following notice and hearing, that there is a strong likelihood that the accused will be able to facilitate the commission of the offense so charged unless such order were issued.

 

[viii] Section 5. Promotion of universal access to the Internet. –

xxx

(c) It is presumed that all persons have the right to unrestricted access to the Internet, subject to the parameters established under this Act. Any voluntary restriction or waiver of such right must be established by preponderance of evidence.

Any final judicial relief that seeks to limit or suspend, in whole or in part, one’s right to unrestricted access to the Internet, shall be determined in accordance with the appropriate law, including but not limited to the Civil Code and this Act. Any civil action that seeks as a relief, in part or in whole, the limitation or suspension of a person’s right to unrestricted access to the Internet, shall be filed exclusively with the Cybercrime Courts.

No court shall issue any provisional Order suspending the right to unrestricted access to the Internet of any person without prior notice and hearing, and only upon the grounds for the issuance of a preliminary injunction under the Rules of Court.

 

[ix]Section 10. Protection of intellectual property. –

xxx

 (d) Notwithstanding existing provisions of law, it shall be presumed that the parents or guardians of a minor shall have provided agreement and shall be bound to the terms of an end user license agreement should the minor in their care signify agreement to the end user license agreement.

(e) Notwithstanding existing provisions of law, it shall be presumed that any infringement of intellectual property rights by a minor was done with the knowledge and consent of his parents or guardians.

 

[x]Section 46. Violation of Data Security. –

(a) Hacking. – It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to intentionally access or to provide a third party with access to, or to hack or aid or abet a third party to hack into, data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed. The unauthorized access or unauthorized act of providing a third party with access to, or the hacking into, data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed shall be presumed to be malicious.

(b) Cracking. – It shall be unlawful for any unauthorized person to intentionally modify or to crack data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed, or for any unauthorized person to intentionally modify intellectual property published on the Internet or on other networks. The unauthorized modification or cracking of data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed, or unauthorized modification of intellectual property published on the Internet or on other networks, shall be presumed to be malicious.

xxx

[xi]Section 52. Internet Libel, Hate Speech, Child Pornography, and Other Expression Inimical to the Public Interest. –

xxx

 (ii) Malice as an essential element of internet libel. – Internet libel shall not lie if malice or intent to injure is not present.

 

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

xxx

 (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.

[xiii]Section 48. Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights. –

xxx

(c) Cybersquatting. – Subject to the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines and other relevant laws, and the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) or any policy of ICANN or successor-in-interest superseding it, it shall be unlawful for any person to register or otherwise acquire, in bad faith to profit or to damage, a domain name that 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; or

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

 

[xiv]Gala, P.T., “Crowdsourcing: The Story of the Drafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom”
http://propinoy.net/2012/11/26/crowdsourcing-the-story-of-the-drafting-of-the-magna-carta-for-philippine-internet-freedom/
last retrieved: 05/ 03/14

[xv]Section 44. Failure to Provide Reasonable Security for Data and Networks. –

(a) Failure to provide security. – It shall be unlawful for any Internet service provider, telecommunications entity, or other such person providing Internet or data services to intentionally or unintentionally fail to provide appropriate levels of security for data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, or the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed.

(b) Negligent failure to provide security. – Negligence resulting to acts in violation of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10175) using a device, network equipment, or physical plant connected to the Internet, public networks, private networks, or telecommunications facilities shall constitute a violation of the preceding paragraph, without prejudice to prosecution under the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (RA 10175).

(c) Negligent failure to provide security presumed to be the result of criminal negligence. – The unintentional failure for any Internet service provider, telecommunications entity, or other such person providing Internet or data services to provide appropriate levels of security for data, networks, storage media where data is stored, equipment through which networks are run or maintained, or the physical plant where the data or network equipment is housed shall be presumed to be the result of criminal negligence, except upon a final ruling from the courts, issued following due notice and hearing.

[xvi]Section 8. Right to privacy of data. –

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(e) The State is required to ensure the appropriate level of privacy of the data and of the networks maintained by it. Failure to do so shall be penalized by this Act and other relevant laws.

 

[xvii]Section 14. The Department of Information and Communications Technology. –

(a) There is hereby created the Department of Information and Communications Technology, or DICT.

(b) The DICT shall be the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating and administrative entity of the executive branch of the government that will plan, promote and help develop the country’s ICT sector and ensure reliable and cost-efficient communications facilities, other multimedia infrastructure and services. The DICT shall likewise be responsible for overseeing the government’s integrated and strategic ICT systems and improving the acquisition, utilization and optimization of government’s ICT in order to improve the productivity, efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness of national and local government programs. The DICT shall furthermore be responsible for ensuring the application of ICT to the various processes and functions of the government.

[xviii]Section 66. Cybercrime courts. –

(a) Designation of Cybercrime Courts and Promulgation of Procedural Rules. – The Supreme Court shall designate the court or courts, manned by judges of competence, integrity, probity and independence in the practice of law, and competent in matters related to the Internet and information and communications technology, that will hear and resolve cases brought under this Act and shall promulgate the rules of pleading, practice and procedure to govern the proceedings brought under this Act.

(b) Qualifications of the Presiding Judges of cybercrime courts. – No person shall be appointed a Presiding Judge of the Cybercrime Court unless he:

(i) is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines;

(ii) is at least thirty-five (35) years of age;

(iii) has been engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines for at least ten (10) years, or has held a public office in the Philippines requiring admission to the practice of law as an indispensable requisite; and,

(iv) has an academic or professional background in information and communications technology, computer science, or engineering; or has proven a high degree of competence in the use of the Internet and information and communications technology.

Court personnel of the Cybercrime Court shall undergo training and must have the experience and demonstrated ability in dealing with cybercrime cases and other cases related to the Internet and information and communications technology.

[xix] Dela Cruz, E (via Reuters). “US removes Philippines copyright blacklist”
http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/04/28/14/us-removes-philippines-copyright-blacklist
Last retrieved: 05/03/14

[xx] Section 33. Declaration of Compliance with Treaty Obligations and International Conventions. –.

 (a) The State recognizes that the Internet itself is possible through the standardization of units across multiple jurisdictions.

 (b) The standards for networks and the Internet, as set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the World Wide Web Consortium (WWWC), and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN), and their successors-in-interest are hereby adopted. No agency or instrumentality of the State shall issue rules and regulations contrary to these.

 (c) The State recognizes that the rights and obligations in the use of networks and the Internet that shall be guaranteed and imposed by this Act are subject to its treaty obligations and obligations under instruments of international law.

 (d) The State reaffirms its compliance to the treaties and international conventions to which it is a signatory, to wit, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Geneva Convention, the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the Convention on Cybercrime (Budapest Convention), and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), among others. No agency or instrumentality of the State shall issue rules and regulations governing the use of networks and the Internet contrary to these.

 (e) The State shall keep abreast with and be guided by developments of the Internet and of information and communications technology under international law and shall continually design and implement policies, laws, and other measures to promote the objectives of this Act.

 

[xxi]Section 65. Competent law enforcement agencies. –

 (a) Department of Justice (DOJ). – The Department of Justice may create an Office of Cybercrime, which shall be designated as the central authority in the enforcement of this Act, and all matters related to international mutual assistance and extradition, as provided for by this Act.

 (b) National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). – The National Bureau of Investigation may create a Cybercrime Division, which shall be responsible for matters related to enforcement of this Act. It shall cooperate with the division responsible for matters related with transnational crime, other divisions, and other government agencies in the enforcement of this Act.

 (c) Philippine National Police (PNP). – The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police may create a Cybercrime Office, which shall be responsible for matters related to enforcement of this Act. The PNP shall, within the extent practicable, establish cybercrime desks in police stations, and shall cooperate with other government agencies in the enforcement of this Act.

 

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