Netizens alarmed by cybercrime law, which may lead to "warrantless takedowns" of sites criticizing politicians

Patrick Villavicencio of reports that many netizens are alarmed by the recently-passed Cybercrime Law (Republic Act No. 101075). The report noted: "In Section 4 of the new law, among the cybercrime offenses punishable include libel. Section 6, meanwhile, punishes crimes defined under the Revised Penal Code, amended to include those committed through the use of information and communication technologies." Senator Tito Sotto, who had tagged himself as a victim of cyberbullying after netizens made fun of him for being a plagiarist, was responsible for inserting the so-called "libel clause."


The report revealed that "Rep. Raymond Palatino, who is a known oppositor of the law when it was still being deliberated in Congress, reiterated the dangers that the new law might pose to Internet freedom in the Philippines." The report quoted Palatino, who said, "Under this law, politicians can easily file charges against ’hostile and combative’ critics and witnesses by claiming that virtual protesters have threatened their life and property."



The report also added: "But aside from provisions that could affect privacy and freedom of expression, certain groups have pointed out how Section 19 of the law, also known as a "takedown provision" for websites, could lead to warrantless shutdowns of online properties."


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