By Loejan S. Anudon

The world is now within easy reach of our finger tips. With just a few key strokes, we gain access to information that previously would take some of us lifetimes to realize. Such is the magnitude of the world-wide-web. The Internet brought us the globe and has systematically condensed it within the devices that we can easily cradle in the palms of our hands.

But with this great privilege, some ground rules were left off in the haste to develop and innovate in the new frontier. There wasn’t a clear protocol on how to extend being a responsible and conscientious citizen on to the new environ. What resulted was an inadequately thought out reaction that gave birth to the ineffectually crafted Anti-Cybercrime Law which managed to pass without much input from those who may have more experience and expertise on the nuances and inter-workings of the environment supposedly regulated by this law, the Internet.

On July 4, 2013, Pangasinan 5th district representative, Kimi Cojuangco filed the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF) as House Bill No. 1086. It is the counterpart of the senate bill filed by Senator Miriam Santiago, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, formally titled as Senate Bill No. 53 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM, CYBERCRIME PREVENTION AND LAW ENFORCEMENT, CYBERDEFENSE AND NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY. Rep. Kimi Cojuangco has learned to harness the breadth of influence that could be had online (as evidenced by the effectiveness of her Twitter conversations regarding her advocacy for the RH Bill).

It is quite apropos that the internet freedom bill is the first crowd-sourced document to be introduced in congress. Using Google docs, a freeware which allows collaboration among different users, the preliminary draft of what is to become the Magna Carta was created by a number of contributors who became united through Twitter and Facebook censure of the Anti-Cybercrime Law.

The Philippine Internet Freedom Bill will in essence repeal the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Instead of punishing its citizens for irresponsible use of this information and communications technology (ICT), the Magna Carta seeks to empower its citizenry by providing guidelines for proper usage and the tools to empower them to harness this new technology. In addition, the Internet freedom bills in both the Senate and Congress will safeguard existing civil and political rights of all Filipinos and extend it to the Internet.

Here are some key points covered by the bill:

  1. Internet Rights and Freedom
    1. Freedom of Speech – considering that this valuable section of the Bill of Rights was overstepped by some provisions of the Anti-Cybercrime Law, this bill upholds that right for all citizens with the same provisions that it not be used to infringe on existing laws such as child pornography and does not compromise existing regulations on confidentiality and security.
    2. Universal Access – this bill will protect and promote everyone’s right to access the Internet unless they are convicted of criminal offenses at which point their rights may be suspended.
    3. Right to Privacy of and Security of Data – guarantees a person’s right of privacy over their data and network rights and all persons shall have the right to protect the security of their data. Meaning how you use the Internet and what you use it for will be afforded a measure of security and privacy.
    4. Protection of Intellectual Property and the Internet as an Open Network – gives the right for creators of any content published on the internet ownership or intellectual rights over their creations. Plagiarists will be prosecuted under existing regulations (Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines).
    5. Transparency in Governance and Freedom of Information – the State will provide for and maintain a system to allow the public to view and download public information on plans, policies, programs, documents and records of government.
  2. Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) – a new department will be created to be “the primary policy, planning, coordinating, implementing, regulating and administrative entity of the executive branch of the government that will promote and help develop the country’s ICT sector and ensure reliable and cost-efficient communications facilities, other multimedia infrastructure and services.”
  3. Regulations for the Promotion of Internet Rights and Freedoms – includes amendments to the Public Telecommunications Policy Act to include language pertaining to Internet service networks. It also outlines obligations of the State to comply with international laws and standards for the Internet.
  4. Cybercrimes and Other Prohibited Acts – it is unlawful for any person to use the Internet to commit crimes such as fraud, prostitution, human trafficking, child pornography, sabotage, hacking, stealing data, infringement of intellectual property rights, hate speech, and libel. This section amends a number of existing acts to include language pertaining to the use of the Internet.
  5. National Cybersecurity, Cyberdefense, Counter-Cyberterrorism, and Counter-Cyberespionage – provides for the national security and protection against any attacks from foreign or local entities, assigning several law enforcement agencies to lead defensive and counter measures.
  6. Penalties – a Cybercrime Court will be designated for all matters concerning the enforcement of all the rules outlined in the Magna Carta.
  7. Implementing Rules and Regulations – are to be the responsibility of various assigned governmental offices in conjunction with the secretary of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).
By 5thdistrictpangasinan Posted in Others


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