New law steps up war vs cybercrime
Some spams now punishableBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
After a long wait, President Aquino has signed into law a key piece of legislation penalizing cybersex, child pornography and unsolicited electronic communication like email spam, among others.
Mr. Aquino signed Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 on Wednesday, Undersecretary Abigail Valte announced on Saturday.
RA 10175 punishes content-related offenses such as cybersex, child pornography and libel which may be committed through a computer system.
It also penalizes unsolicited commercial communication or content that advertises or sells products or services.
But there are exemptions relating to the sending of unsolicited material: It is not a crime if there is prior consent from the recipient, the communication is an announcement from the sender to users, and if there is an easy, reliable way for the recipient to reject it, among others.
“These unsolicited communications have gotten the ire of many people,” Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson, said over government-run dzRB.
RA 10175 also penalizes offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and system, such as illegal access, illegal interference, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, and cybersquatting.
It defines cybersquatting as the acquisition of a domain name on the Internet in bad faith or with the intent to profit, mislead, destroy one’s reputation or deprive others from registering the same domain name.
Also covered by the law are computer-related forgery and fraud.
Individuals found guilty of cybersex face a jail term of prision mayor (6 years and one day to 12 years) or a fine of at least P200,000 but not exceeding P1 million.
Child pornography via computer carries a penalty one degree higher than that provided by the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.
Persons found guilty of unsolicited communication face arresto mayor (imprisonment for 1 month and 1 day to 6 months) or a fine of at least P50,000 but not more than P250,000, or both.
The National Bureau of Investigation was tasked with enforcing the provisions of the law. Together with the Philippine National Police, the NBI was mandated to organize a cybercrime unit or center manned by cybercrime special investigators.
Specific courts would be designated to handle cybercrime cases.
The law also calls for the creation of an Office of Cybercrime under the Department of Justice to act as the central authority on international mutual assistance and extradition, as well as a Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center to coordinate policy among agencies and formulate a national cyber security plan.
“The CICC shall be headed by the executive director of the information and communications technology of this office,” Valte said.