[In the news] Groups, bloggers ask PNoy to veto cybercrime bill – InterAksyon.com

Groups, bloggers ask PNoy to veto cybercrime bill
J. M. Tuazon, InterAksyon.com
February 1, 2012

 MANILA, Philippines — Various groups and Internet users have called on President Benigno Aquino III not to sign the proposed Cybercrime Prevention Act, saying that some provisions in the bill could only do more harm than good.

The uproar against the proposed measure came just a day after the upper chamber of Congress passed Senate Bill 2796 on third reading, with majority of Senators voting to pass the bill.

The lower house, on the other hand, has yet to take up its version of the bill on second reading.

Consumer group TXTPower, in a statement, said the bill looks less about preventing cybercrimes than an “orchestrated attempt to control and limit Internet use.”

“Under the bills, government would have the power to take down, sans a court order, websites at anytime and anywhere if authorities find alleged prima facie evidence of offenses,” the group said.

The group added that the bills have “serious and grave threats” to the privacy of Filipino Internet users, especially with provisions allowing government to take and preserve traffic data for a period of time.

“For example, under the Senate version, the government would have the power to retain all user-identifiable data for a period of six months, from as many individuals it could possibly tag as suspected cybercriminals,” said TXTPower.

UP College of Law’s Internet and Society Program Director Atty. JJ Disini pointed out that as written, the proposed legislation puts too much power under the Department of Justice (DOJ), which would act as the coordinating agency for the government’s anti-cybercrime efforts.

“Under the bill, the DOJ can issue an order [to take and restrict access to data] should it be found as prima facie evidence for a violation,” Disini said. “In effect, the DOJ’s power is even greater than the court’s power.”

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