President Aquino signs Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

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Last September 12, 2012, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III officially signed Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 that will safeguard and defend every Filipinos from any form cybercrimes such as forgery, identity theft, fraud, child pornography, cybersex, illegal access to data, and cyber bullying/libel. With this the government enforces the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police, and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to work with the Department of Justice who will be creating an Office of Cybercrime that will serve as the central authority regarding this matter and with the soon to be created Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) that will be under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President.

Penalty for committing a crime under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 includes imprisonment and fine depending on the weight of the degree of violation. Details on definition of terms and penalties can be found in www.gov.ph.

But there are mixed reactions regarding the signing of the Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 for others it will protect them from cybercrimes such as forgery, identity theft, fraud, and cyber bullying/libel especially for celebrities, politicians and other personalities that encountered this kind of cases most of the time. It also protect government and private offices from illegal access to their data and spread of virus which reminds us of the I Love You Virus that spreads like a wild fire in 2000 through emails and affects private and government offices in the Philippines, USA, Hong Kong and other European countries that caused US $5.5 billion in damages worldwide. It also gives justice to the victims of child pornography that will strengthen the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, for others it was a step backward in our long-term aim of decriminalizing libel which according to Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino. It will give politicians the power to immediately file charges against their critics online and file libel cases against them. It might also lead to possible online censorship that will hinder the sharing of opinions and call for reform by those advocates and activists which might be tagged as cyber criminals. Which he mentioned during his interview in ABS-CBNNews.com.

Point of View

Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 has its pros and cons. It will surely protect everyone from any form of cybercrimes that most Filipinos became victims – as forgery, identity theft, fraud, child pornography, cybersex, and illegal access to data. It will also give victims of cyber bullying to defend themselves but in regards with the possibility of making politicians to turn back against their critics it will give negative impact to the law and will hinder the call reform and transparency. I just hope that Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 will not be used by those in the position for their personal gain such as censorship, access to personal data and information which I think the law is created not to protect those who are doers of crime and those who are thinking of committing one soon but for every Filipinos who are really victims of cybercrime.

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