Senate inserted Section 19: How the ‘take-down’ clause emerged in Cybercrime Law
By Karl John C. Reyes, InterAksyon.com
October 2, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – The notorious ‘take-down’ provision in the Anti-Cybercrime Act which empowers the Department of Justice (DOJ) to restrict or block access to computer data was ‘inserted’ in the Senate version of the bill, details further coming into light now establish.
A review by Interaksyon.com of the May 31, 2012, minutes of the Bicameral Conference Committee that worked to reconcile Senate Bill No. 2796 and House Bill No. 5808 into what would ultimately become the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, shows the provenance of the law’s controversial Section 19.
A provision for “Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data” first appeared as Section 13 in the Senate. This was later moved as Section 18.
“Okay, Now, Section 13 of the Senate version will now become Section 18, Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data,” the minutes quote conference committee member Sen. Edgardo Angara. Sen. Vicente Sotto III had earlier tagged Angara as the man responsible for Section 19 which, among other things, empowers the DOJ to restrict access to computer data, potentially allowing for the blocking of websites, experts say, without benefit of a warrant or court order. “When a computer data is prima facie, et cetera, et cetera,” Angara is on record as saying.
Angara, chairman of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), had sponsored the bill in the Senate.
In the final version of the consolidated bill under Republic Act 101751 signed by President Benigno Aquino III on September 12, 2012, Section 18, as agreed upon in the Bicameral Conference Committee, was then re-numbered as Section 19. It ultimately reads: “Restricting or Blocking Access to Computer Data – When a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data.”
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