The Department of Justice today issued a statement on the contentious issues of R.A. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Justice Secretary Leila M. de Lima, who just returned from an official mission in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., said that "The IT industry knows that since 2007 when the DOJ first crafted the consolidated cybercrime bill, intemet libel was never a part of any versions. The main purpose of the legislation was to cover acts committed with new technologies that were not included or could not have been anticipated by the Revised Penal Code or special penal laws. The DOJ will protect and defend the freedom of expression and freedom of speech in whatever form by going after transnational organized crimes and criminal syndicates who abuse the openness of social media".
Petitions in the Supreme Court challenged Sections 4, 5, 6, 7, 19 and 20 of the law. Section 4(c)4 is the section on libel over the internet. Section 5 deals with aiding, abetting or attempting the commission of cybercrime. Sections 6 and 7 provide for penalties for violations of traditional crimes committed using information communication technology (ICT) and the relationship with existing crimes. Section 19 - allows the restriction or blocking access to computer data prima facie found to be in violation of the law. Section 20 penalizes failure to comply with orders from law enforcement authorities.
"The DOJ recommended the deletion of cyberdefamation, cyberthreats and intemet libel," said Secretary de Lima. "Moreover, we strongly pointed out that it is a penal legislation but the law confuses cybercrime and cyber security - two different concepts. The creation of a new bureaucratic structure that cannot be responsible for operations will impede the successful implementation of the law,” she added.
"The DOJ template law on cybercrime is a coherent work that fuses the technical requirements of cyber law, the present legal framework and standards of international cooperation to address cybercrime,” said Assistant Secretary Geronimo L. Sy, the DOJ’s focal person on cybercrime. "‘Cut and paste’ legislation will not work and we see this in the questioned sections which we intend to harmonize and remedy in the implementing rules and regulations,” he said.
Secretary De Lima assured the public, specially the netizens, that priorities in the law’s implementation will be made in constant dialogue with key stakeholders to address issues and concems. The DOJ is set to conduct a multi-sectoral forum on 9 October 2012.
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