August 19, 2010
ANGARA: STRICTER INTERNET LAWS VS INTERNET CRIMES
Following recent studies showing the rapidly increasing number of Filipino web users, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today called for stricter Internet laws and heavier punishment for cybercrime in the Philippines.
US-based industry tracker comScore reported that as of early 2010, the Philippines has the highest social networking usage in the Asia Pacific Region. 90% of all Filipino web users frequent social networking sites, accessing them about once a day.
"These numbers reflect the Filipino's inherent need to establish and maintain ties with the people we care about through social networking sites like Facebook or Friendster. However, these immensely popular sites also attract new kinds of illegal activities called cybercrimes. This is why we need to make the Internet safer for our citizens," Angara said.
Cybercrime one of the fastest growing criminal industries -downloading and uploading pornographic material, hacking, fraud, and a host of other destructive activities. Other illegal activities include e-mail espionage, credit card fraud, spams, and software piracy, financial crimes, sale of illegal or stolen articles, pornography, online gambling, crimes impinging on intellectual property rights, e-mail spoofing, forgery, cyber defamation, and cyber stalking.
Under Angara's proposed cybercrime law, persons found guilty of these acts will be punished with imprisonment of prision mayor or a fine of at least PhP200,000.00.
Numerous cases of cybercrimes have been filed in the Philippines, ranging from Internet scams to uploaded sex videos.
"Preventive measures need to be taken and heavier punishments for violators should be established to protect Filipinos from online crimes," said Angara, author of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Another international study shows that 91% of all internet users believe that there should be more controls over the internet to prevent these kinds of cybercrimes. Indeed, there has been a clamor for a more comprehensive Internet law in the Philippines, as the existing acts are lagging behind the rapid development of the Web.
"A more up-to-date Internet law would be more effective against cybercrimes, especially one that pursue specific violations like hacking and privacy infringement. This target-specific approach would also make it easier to prosecute offenders," Angara said.