Philippine president defends cybercrime law

Oct 05, 2012
Customers at an Internet cafe in Manila look at Facebook profiles that have turned black as part of a protest against a cybercrime bill that took effect on October 3. Philippine President Benigno Aquino has defended a new cybercrime law amid a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino defended a new cybercrime law Friday amid a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate web users into self-censorship.

Aquino specifically backed one of the most controversial elements of the law, which mandates that people who post defamatory comments online be given much longer jail sentences than those who commit libel in traditional media.

"I do not agree that it (the provision on libel) should be removed. If you say something libellous through the Internet, then it is still libellous... no matter what the format," Aquino told reporters.

Another controversial element of the law, which went into effect on Wednesday, allows the government to monitor online activities, such as e-mail, and instant messaging, without a warrant.

The government can also now close down websites it deems to be involved in criminal activities without a warrant.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has defended a new cybercrime law amid a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

, media organisations and web users have voiced their outrage at the law, with some saying it echoes the curbs on freedoms imposed by Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s.

Philippine social media has been alight with protests this week, while hackers have attacked and 10 petitions have been filed with the Supreme Court calling for it to overturn the law.

Aquino, whose mother led the "people power" revolution that toppled Marcos from power in 1986, said he remained committed to .

But he said those freedoms were not unlimited.

Aquino gave a broad defence of the law, which also seeks to stamp out non-controversial cybercrimes such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography.

"The purpose of this law is to address the shortcomings of our system, so we can have a clean Internet," he said.

US government-funded Freedom House was among the international rights watchdogs to criticise the this week.

"Anyone who shares offending content could end up behind bars, even if he or she did not write it. Merely a Facebook 'Like' could be construed as libel," it said in a statement.

"This act is a gross overreach that severely jeopardises the Philippines' status as a country with a free Internet."

Explore further: Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Protests at 'dictatorial' Philippine cyber law

Sep 27, 2012

The Philippine government faced a barrage of protests on Wednesday as a cybercrime law went into effect that critics said had imposed dictator-style monitoring and policing of the Internet.

Philippine leader signs law to combat cybercrimes

Sep 16, 2012

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has signed into law a bill to combat cybercrime, his spokeswoman said Saturday, in a bid to stamp down on everything from forgery to child pornography.

Media groups, Filipinos protest tough cyber law

Oct 03, 2012

(AP)—Media groups and Filipinos stepped up calls Wednesday for repealing a tough new law that targets cybercrime but activists fear will be used to suppress online freedoms in the Southeast Asian nation.

Philippines sets up climate change fund

Aug 21, 2012

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has signed a law creating a one billion peso (about $24 million) "survival fund" to combat the effects of climate change, a government official said Tuesday.

Hackers hit Philippines websites amid China dispute

Apr 26, 2012

Philippine government websites are under heavy attack from hackers, apparently from China, amid a tense territorial dispute between the two countries in the South China Sea, officials said Thursday.

Internet 'trolls' face being named under new bill

Jun 12, 2012

Websites such as Facebook and Twitter will receive greater protection from lawsuits if they identify internet "trolls" accused of defaming others under a bill being debated in Britain's House of Commons on ...

Recommended for you

Fitbit to Schumer: We don't sell personal data

10 hours ago

The maker of a popular line of wearable fitness-tracking devices says it has never sold personal data to advertisers, contrary to concerns raised by U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer.

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

14 hours ago

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

How much do we really know about privacy on Facebook?

15 hours ago

The recent furore about the Facebook Messenger app has unearthed an interesting question: how far are we willing to allow our privacy to be pushed for our social connections? In the case of the Facebook ...

Philippines makes arrests in online extortion ring

16 hours ago

Philippine police have arrested eight suspected members of an online syndicate accused of blackmailing more than 1,000 Hong Kong and Singapore residents after luring them into exposing themselves in front of webcam, an official ...

Google to help boost Greece's tourism industry

Aug 21, 2014

Internet giant Google will offer management courses to 3,000 tourism businesses on the island of Crete as part of an initiative to promote the sector in Greece, industry union Sete said on Thursday.

Music site SoundCloud to start paying artists

Aug 21, 2014

SoundCloud said Thursday that it will start paying artists and record companies whose music is played on the popular streaming site, a move that will bring it in line with competitors such as YouTube and Spotify.

User comments : 0