Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, has been netizens’ talk of the past days. Most of the reactions I’ve read about the law has been downright negative. Some have even labeled it “e-Martial Law”.
I won’t go there. But definitely, some provisions of the law are, hmm, iffy.
Section 19 of the law states that “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.”
Wow. In other words, websites may just be shut down. Blogs, news sites, social networking sites, all these may be taken down now because of the law. This lessens the freedom of speech we currently are enjoying.
Another, and perhaps more terrible issue here is the fact that any crime committed online will have a penalty one degree more severe than it would be if it were done offline. It does not make sense. Why is online considered such a terrible act? Why is it that it should carry a heavier punishment?
For journalists and bloggers, the law handicaps them. One thing these entities do is criticize. Saying negative things about another person, the government, for example, especially if it contains dirty words or phrases, would be illegal. If this were to be, then how would journalists tell the truth? How could they educate the masses in this case?
Now that the 2013 elections are nearing, maybe this is why the law was passed. Because during the elections or the time leading to it, a lot of supporters of one party slings mud over to the other side, and vice versa. Sometimes even the party members themselves. That’s the only logical reason I could think off.
That’s why the politicians may have passed the bill. Maybe they just wanted to avoid criticism. Something like this piece that I wrote.