The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, officially recorded as Republic Act No. 10175, is a law in the Philippines approved on 12 September 2012. It aims to address legal issues concerning online interactions and the Internet in the Philippines. Among the cybercrime offenses included in the bill are cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel. Screenshot of the social networking site Facebook, as the Filipinos changed their profile pictures into black in protest against the Cybercrime Prevention Law of 2012.
While hailed for penalizing illegal acts done via the internet that were not covered by old laws, the act has been criticized for its provision on criminalizing libel, which is perceived to be a curtailment in freedom of expression. Republic of the Philippines Congress of the Philippines Metro Manila Fifteenth Congress Second Regular Session Begun and held in Metro Manila, on Monday the Twenty-fifth day of July two thousand eleven. [Republic Act No. 10175] AN ACT DEFINING CYBERCRIME, PROVIDING FOR THE PREVENTION, INVESTIGATION, SUPPRESSION AND THE IMPOSITION OF PENALTIES THEREFOR AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Cybercrime is defined as crimes committed on the internet using the computer as either a tool or a targeted victim. It is very difficult to classify crimes in general into distinct groups as many crimes evolve on a daily basis. Even in the real world, crimes like rape, murder or theft need not necessarily be separate. However, all cybercrimes involve both the computer and the person behind it as victims, it just depends on which of the two is the main target. Hence, the computer will be looked at as either a target or tool for simplicity’s sake.
For example, hacking involves attacking the computer’s information and other resources. It is important to take note that overlapping occurs in many cases and it is impossible to have a perfect classification system. • Computer as a tool When the individual is the main target of Cybercrime, the computer can be considered as the tool rather than the target. These crimes generally involve less technical expertise as the damage done manifests itself in the real world. Human weaknesses are generally exploited.
The damage dealt is largely psychological and intangible, making legal action against the variants more difficult. These are the crimes which have existed for centuries in the offline. Scams, theft, and the likes have existed even before the development in high-tech equipment. The same criminal has simply been given a tool which increases his potential pool of victims and makes him all the harder to trace and apprehend. • Computer as a target These crimes are committed by a selected group of criminals.
Unlike crimes using the computer as a tool, these crimes requires the technical knowledge of the perpetrators. These crimes are relatively new, having been in existence for only as long as computers have – which explains how unprepared society and the world in general is towards combating these crimes. There are numerous crimes of this nature committed daily on the internet. But it is worth knowing that Africans and indeed Nigerians are yet to develop their technical knowledge to accommodate and perpetrate this kind of crime. PUNISHABLE ACTS Cybercrime Offenses.
— The following acts constitute the offense of cybercrime punishable under this Act: (a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems: (1) Illegal Access. – The access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right. (2) Illegal Interception. – The interception made by technical means without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data. (3) Data Interference.
— The intentional or reckless alteration, damaging, deletion or deterioration of computer data, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right, including the introduction or transmission of viruses. (4) System Interference. — The intentional alteration or reckless hindering or interference with the functioning of a computer or computer network by inputting, transmitting, damaging, deleting, deteriorating, altering or suppressing computer data or program, electronic document, or electronic data message, without right or authority, including the introduction or transmission of viruses.
(5) Misuse of Devices. (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. (b) Computer-related Offenses: (1) Computer-related Forgery (2) Computer-related Fraud. — The unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data or program or interference in the functioning of a computer system, causing damage thereby with fraudulent intent: Provided,That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower.
(3) Computer-related Identity Theft. – The intentional acquisition, use, misuse, transfer, possession, alteration or deletion of identifying information belonging to another, whether natural or juridical, without right: Provided, That if no damage has yet been caused, the penalty imposable shall be one (1) degree lower. (c) Content-related Offenses: (1) Cybersex. — The willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.
(2) Child Pornography. — The unlawful or prohibited acts defined and punishable by Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, committed through a computer system: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be (1) one degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No. 9775. (3) Unsolicited Commercial Communications. — The transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited unless: (4) Libel.
— The unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future. Other Offenses. — The following acts shall also constitute an offense: (a) Aiding or Abetting in the Commission of Cybercrime. – Any person who willfully abets or aids in the commission of any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable. (b) Attempt in the Commission of Cybercrime.
— Any person who willfully attempts to commit any of the offenses enumerated in this Act shall be held liable. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.
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. PENALTIES Penalties. — Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Sections 4(a) and 4(b) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000. 00) up to a maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both.
* Any person found guilty of the punishable act under Section 4(a)(5) shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of not more than Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000. 00) or both. * If punishable acts in Section 4(a) are committed against critical infrastructure, the penalty of reclusion temporal or a fine of at least Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000. 00) up to maximum amount commensurate to the damage incurred or both, shall be imposed.
* Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(1) of this Act shall be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least Two hundred thousand pesos (PhP200,000. 00) but not exceeding One million pesos (PhP1,000,000. 00) or both. * Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(2) of this Act shall be punished with the penalties as enumerated in Republic Act No. 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009? : Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for in Republic Act No.
9775, if committed through a computer system. * Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 4(c)(3) shall be punished with imprisonment of arresto mayor or a fine of at least Fifty thousand pesos (PhP50,000. 00) but not exceeding Two hundred fifty thousand pesos (PhP250,000. 00) or both. * -Any person found guilty of any of the punishable acts enumerated in Section 5 shall be punished with imprisonment one (1) degree lower than that of the prescribed penalty for the offense or a fine of at least One hundred thousand pesos (PhP100,000. 00) but not exceeding Five hundred thousand pesos (PhP500,000. 00) or both. UPDATES A controversial law targeting cybercrime in the Philippines has come into effect, fuelling protests by citizens and media groups fearing censorship.
The new law, called the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, was signed by the president on 12 September. It is intended to prevent cybersex, online child pornography, identity theft and spamming, officials say. But it also makes libel a cybercrime punishable by up to 12 years in jail.
The act was enacted by congress “to address legitimate concerns” about criminal and abusive behaviour online, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in a statement on Wednesday. “Questions have been raised about the constitutionality of certain provisions of the act. We recognise and respect efforts not only to raise these issues in court, but to propose amendments to the law in accordance with constitutional processes,” he said. The act took effect despite the protests by those who oppose the law.
At least eight petitions from various groups challenging its constitutionality have been filed with the highest court in the Philippines, local media report. Anonymous activists have hacked into government websites, journalists have held rallies and many Facebook users have replaced their profile picture with a blank screen, says the BBC’s Kate McGeown in Manila. Protesters say the legislation could be used to target government critics and crack down on freedom of speech. Under the new act, a person found guilty of libellous comments online, including comments made on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or blogs, could be fined or jailed.
Government officials will also have new powers to search and seize data from people’s online accounts, says our correspondent. The US-based Human Rights Watch said that the law would harm free speech in a statement last week. “The cybercrime law needs to be repealed or replaced,” said the group’s Asia director, Brad Adams. “It violates Filipinos’ rights to free expression and it is wholly incompatible with the Philippine government’s obligations under international law. “