Thursday, October 11, 2012

Philippines Supreme Court strikes down Cybercrime law

The Philippines' Supreme Court has ordered that the contentious Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, be suspended. See here for details of some of the protests the law sparked off. The law aims to attack matters such as online child pornography, cyber sexual activities, identity theft and spamming. But it gives powerful search and seizure rights to authorities including to seize data from computers. It also targets online libel such as social media comment as a criminal offence. 15 petitions against the law had been filed by groups objecting to it, mostly condemning the libel provisions as an attack on free speech and the swingeing enforcement powers.

Of course many of the Cybercrime law's legitimate functions are necessary in a modern society but this court order illustrates the risks when government in a democracy strays into regulating what people can say. Add to that a healthy distrust of authorities' abuse of power in the Philippines and the risks can soon seem to outweigh the benefits. See
here for a case of suspicious attacks on a legitimate business operator by authorities.

1 comment:

  1. The recent Supreme Court hearings on the proposed Cybercrime law are reported here -