Media News - Wednesday, October 03, 2012
The Internet may never be the same in the Philippines. Netizens are up in arms over the new cybercrime law, which comes into effect on October 3. It is feared that the new Cybercrime Prevention Act will extend the country's criminal libel law into cyberspace and also increase the penalty for cyber libel. The United Nations Human Rights Council has described the existing criminal libel law as "draconian" and "excessive." Under the new law, Filipinos will face sentences of up to 12 years in prison and a fine of one million pesos (USD 24,000) for posting comments on social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, if those comments are deemed defamatory by local authorities. Microbloggers could even find themselves in trouble for unwittingly retweeting or re-posting libelous material. The Philippines has a huge and thriving social media community. About one third of the country's 100 million people use the Internet, with nearly 96 percent of them on Facebook. With the new law, authorities will have the power to collect data from personal social media accounts and listen into conversations on Internet voice services, such as Skype. In addition to the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation, a special law enforcement unit will help coordinate surveillance. The Philippines government says the new law is necessary to fight hacking, identity theft, spamming and intellectual property theft - law enforcement officials say they would otherwise lack the tools to fight Internet crime. (Deutsche Welle)
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