HRonlinePH.com Journal: The week that was April 14

HRonlinePH.com Journal: The week that was April 14

The Human Rights Online Philippines brings you the important news and information you need to know about everything that matters. Stay well-informed about the Philippines concise summaries of news articles about human rights, digital, environment, labor, arts, and politics.

International Criminal Court (ICC)

President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to arrest the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda if she decides to push through with the investigation into his war on drugs campaign in the Philippines.

“Kaya ikaw, Ms. Fatou, huwag kang pumunta dito kasi I will bar you,” he warned Bensouda during a press conference in Davao City upon his arrival from trips to China and Hong Kong on Friday, April 13.

President Duterte also said that the ICC doesn’t have jurisdiction over him and he’s not afraid of them.

“If we are not members of the treaty, you cannot exercise any proceedings here without basis. That is illegal and I will arrest you,” Duterte also said in his speech.

Meanwhile, Bensouda doesn’t have any reasons to go to the Philippines yet as the ICC has just begun its preliminary examinations. Once determined that they have jurisdiction over the complaint filed by Filipino lawyer Jude Sabio last year regarding the alleged “mass killing”, that’s when the ICC can proceed with the investigation into killings being linked to Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs.

The Philippines formally notified the United Nations of its withdrawal from the ICC in March, but this would take effect only a year after notification. Duterte alleged that the ratification of the Rome Statute was fraudulent.

Facebook users privacy concerns

The National Privacy Commission of the Philippines has launched an investigation against Facebook regarding the Cambridge Analytica incident as it may have posed risks to Filipino Facebook users.

In a letter dated 11 April 2018, and addressed to Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the country’s data privacy authority has directed Zuckerberg to furnish the Commission with information relevant to the processing of Facebook data of affected Filipinos, and how personal data is generally shared with third parties using the social media platform.

On 10 April, Zuckerberg testified at a joint hearing of the US Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees about reports that research firm Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to the personal data of as many as 87 million Facebook users.

While most of the affected users are from the US, users’ data from other countries may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica as well, which includes 1.18 million Filipino users.

The Commission required Facebook to provide documents and explain how these data were shared with third parties using the platform. According to the Commission, this will help in establishing the scope and the effects of the incident to look for possible violations by the social media company of the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10173).

Crack down on fake news

Several websites that contain false information have been blocked on Facebook as the social media company began implementing stringent measures against the proliferation of fake news.

These include pages previously identified to have published fake articles about President Duterte and the Philippines, such as Duterte News Today, Duterte News Info, FilipiNews, HotNewsPhil and PhilNewsPortal.

As the announcement of Facebook that it tapped Rappler and Vera Files for a third-party fact-checking program in the Philippines to address the spread of fake news among Filipino users of the social media platform, Duterte supporters have urged their followers to delete their accounts and transfer to the “Russian Facebook”.

“Partnering with third-party fact-checking organizations is one of the ways we hope to better identify and reduce the reach of false news that people share on our platform,” said Clair Deevy, the Facebook Director for Community Affairs for Asia Pacific.

The program is said to strengthen the quality and improve the veracity of stories on social media feed by applying a three-part framework: a) Facebook to identify the potential fake news using various signals, including feedback from community b) Third party fact-checkers (Vera Files and Rappler) to rate the accuracy of these stories c) Facebook to take action by placing false stories in news feed and preventing users from sharing these contents.

The fake news sites blocked by Facebook were among those included in the list of fake news websites earlier identified by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.

According to Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer Mike Schroepfer, around more than 1 million Filipino Facebook users were exposed to the data sharing controversy.

*Jared Enriquez, former Editor-In-Chief of The Adamson Chronicle, now shares his passion in writing and digital security as intern of the Human Rights Online Philippines.

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