DOJ cautions hackers and hacktivists

03 October 2012

Emphasizing the clear line between legitimate expressions of dissent and acceptable forms of protests versus the commission of illegal acts, the Department of Justice today cautioned all to observe the rule of law specially with the effectivity of RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Secretary of Justice Leila M . De Lima said, "Precisely the purpose of the law is to protect our citizens from unscrupulous and abusive actions of misfits and the wicked in society. We see massive cyber fraud, state-sponsored terrorism, telecommunications hacking, credit card scams and consumer schemes that the State is mandated to investigate and prosecute. There is no doubt that cybercrime is a global crime that requires immediate and adequate response."

"Disagreeing with certain sections of the law or questioning the legislative intent is no excuse to commit crimes - defacing websites whether government or not, disrupting essential operations and services, and causing damage to scarce resources", she added. Section 4(a) of RA 10175 punishes acts against the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of computer data and systems. These include illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, and cyber-squatting. The existing RA 8792 or the ECommerce Law penalizes hacking under Section 33(a). The DOJ previously secured two (2) convictions under this provision.

"The number of incidents and the ease of hacking government websites only shows the vulnerability of our country's ICT framework and proves the necessity of a cybercrime law to protect us against criminal syndicates and transnational organized crime," said Assistant Secretary Geronimo L. Sy, recently designated as head of the DOJ Office of Cybercrime.

The Office of Cybercrime is set to implement the law to ensure the continued development of the business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry, to protect critical  infrastructure and to encourage the use of technology and social media by netizens who report abuses and are victims of crimes over the internet. It begins with a multi-sectoral forum on October 9, 2012 to explain the features of the law that are designed to go after criminals including hackers.

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