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Philippines' Cybercrime Law Makes SOPA Look Reasonable 103

Posted by timothy
from the setting-the-bar-low dept.
silentbrad writes with this report from Forbes: "The dark days of SOPA and PIPA are behind the U.S., at least temporarily, as copyright tycoons reground and restrategize, attempting to come up with measures that don't cause the entire internet to shut down in protest. But one country has already moved ahead with similar legislation. The government of the Philippines has passed the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which on the surface, as usual, sounds perfectly well-intentioned. But when you read the actual contents of what's been deemed 'cybercrime,' SOPA's proposed censorship sounds downright lax by comparison. Yes, there's the usual hacking, cracking, identity theft and spamming, which most of us can agree should be illegal. But there's also cybersex, pornography, file-sharing (SOPA's main target), and the most controversial provision, online libel." At least it doesn't mention blasphemy.
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Philippines' Cybercrime Law Makes SOPA Look Reasonable

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  • And now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by cyrano.mac (916276) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:07PM (#41550799)
    Will the USA extradite?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, in a few years they'll talk about how we're "falling behind" all these other countries that we've pushed into creating laws like this.

      Knowing that Americans have been able (barely) to stand up to this, they've instead made our politicians lobby other countries to force them to do that. Well, maybe "force" isn't quite the right word, after all, the politicians can use that as a convenient excuse to do whatever they like and deflect blame, but the effect is the same. So they come up with stupid piracy w

  • Not so good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:14PM (#41550875) Journal

    The Philippines don't look so good as a place to locate a data haven anymore.

    • Re:Not so good (Score:4, Informative)

      by Xest (935314) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:38PM (#41551145)

      It's the usual sensationalism. The BBC published an article with a similar headline the other day, except more than anything the cybersex the BBC was referring to was not really cybersex as people classically know it - in other words, this story seems to stem from the fact the BBC reporter got a little confused about everything.

      No, the law in question states that the type of online sex that is banned is that which is for profit or other similar gain. The reason for the law is because the Philippines has a major problem with children being forced into online sex shows and so forth.

      That means it's got fuck all to do with two people typing or camming intimitately to each other in a private capacity. It's entirely about commercial for-profit shows.

      This isn't to defend the law, but to add a bit of clarity to the discussion. When looked at in context it's no worse than for example, the UK's digital economy act and similar that have outlawed cartoon porn, and home made BDSM/rape fantasy shit even when distributed in a not-for profit manner.

      • Mod parent up.

        The BBC article he's referring to is here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19659801 [bbc.co.uk]
        ...and more specifically on the topic, here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12597245 [bbc.co.uk]
      • Re:Not so good (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:07PM (#41551447) Homepage

        You cannot ban all commercial sex online because some ass***s force children to do commercial sex shows. If you wanted to ban that you would just ban children doing sex shows. Now the whole industry has to go underground, and then there is no reason not to continue the children shows.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          In fact...

          I've found it's not assholes forcing it but children desperate enough to do it sometimes even of their own volition as it's the only way to improve their future.

          I once stumbled upon one, and rather than partake in what was clearly child pornography opted instead to talk to her and find out why she is doing this.

          Turns out this girl was literally doing it because her parents couldn't afford to send her to school, she was doing it to pay for school (just like you hear of college girls in the US).

          As I

        • by Xest (935314)

          The problem is this isn't like Europe where it's just the odd child being abused here and there amongst hundreds of adults doing it of their own free will.

          This is a country where the problem has reached epidemic proportions, where the issue exists in the majority of cases and that's why they've had to take such extreme action on it.

          Your argument works fine when you're talking about a handful of people ruining it for hundreds, but that's not the case in the Philippines.

          Also, it was "underground" anyway becau

      • by gstewart (453924)

        A bigger issue (but not more abhorrent), in the Phils, than the children forced into online sex shows, is the voluntary and legal-aged, for-profit, cybersex houses. There are far more cebersex houses in the Phils employing legal individuals than there are forcing children into these practices. There is a larger issue with respect to sex tourism and child sex/pornography trade, yes.

        The Phils is an extremely Catholic country, with some Victorian-era cultural expectations. The cybersex trade has provided a lot

      • Paid cam-girls are classic. If children are under the power of evil people, shutting down legal businesses that can be inspected won't help, the kids will just have to earn on the streets. Sensational headline would read: Philippine Cyber Puritanism Promotes Preteen Prostitution
      • 'Cybersex' is a media-driven term with no clear definition. It means whatever a writer needs it to mean.

        'Sexting' is just as bad.
      • i think the main problem with it is the 'libel' aspect...
      • So girls being forced into anything, slavery actually, is not banned? Why the need for a new law?
        • by Xest (935314)

          So that they can take the sites themselves offline, and hence remove the revenue stream incentive for the criminals driving this.

          This is nothing unusual, every Western country already takes sites that profit from paedophilia offline where they can with similar laws.

      • by mjwx (966435)

        It's the usual sensationalism. The BBC published an article with a similar headline the other day, except more than anything the cybersex the BBC was referring to was not really cybersex as people classically know it - in other words, this story seems to stem from the fact the BBC reporter got a little confused about everything.

        For those familiar with the Philippines this is pretty standard... it aslo wont make one jot of difference.

        The Philippine government has a secret love/open hate with the sex "industry" in the Phils. They, as good Christians are reviled and repulsed by the idea of consensual paid sex between adults, however they love the money it brings into the country.

        But the kicker about the Phils government is that it's corrupt as all buggery so what's "illegal" by the letter of the law goes on in open view thanks

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now that all of these bad things are illegal, nobody will ever do it again.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    One might like an "almost".

  • So this is also an attempt to enforce morality?

    Wow, the Philippines is sounding pretty regressive.

    • Re:Cybersex? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Fulminata (999320) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:03PM (#41551397)
      The Philippines is one of the last countries in the world where the Catholic Church has a dominant voice in politics, so laws attempting to enforce morality are a fairly common thing. For example, it's one of the only countries in the world where divorce is illegal. As a result, many couples today either don't get married in the first place, or else are in a long term live-in relationship with someone while still being married to someone else.

      Cybersex in the Philippines was already legally considered to be a form of prostitution before this law was passed. Now it would appear that the punishment for getting naked on a webcam will be harsher than that for having actual sex for pay, which will only serve to drive women away from the relatively safe jobs involving cybersex and into the more dangerous work of actual prostitution.

      Just how much more severe is the punishment for cybersex? The fine for prostitution is 200 to 2,000 pesos. The fine for cybersex is 200,000 to 1,000,000 pesos. Average annual family income in the Philippines is 206,000 pesos as of 2009.
      • by mjwx (966435)

        The Philippines is one of the last countries in the world where the Catholic Church has a dominant voice in politics, so laws attempting to enforce morality are a fairly common thing. For example, it's one of the only countries in the world where divorce is illegal. As a result, many couples today either don't get married in the first place, or else are in a long term live-in relationship with someone while still being married to someone else.

        This is true for the government, but not for the people. Filipinos are like most other SE Asians (including Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims) where they are quite devoutly religious but not fanatical like in the ME or bible belts of the west. So Filipinos believe quite deeply in god, but are not insecure in their religion at all. They wont try to force it on you at all. The same is true for other people in SE Asia like Indonesian Muslims or Khmer Buddhists (well, minus the god part for Buddhists). However, I

  • Don't be a mouthpiece for the "lull people into a false sense of security" department of the MPAA, even in passing. SOPA and PIPA are merely letters for a conspiracy that hasn't for a moment stopped trying to kill freedom of speech online.

    They're behind this law in the Philippines, and they're at this very moment buying politicians to get SOPA and PIPA passed again as different letters.

    Don't even reference their lies in passing. They are out to screw us all over.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:55PM (#41551905)
      SLASHDOT, FOR FUCKS SAKE HOW IS THIS INFORMATIVE? There's no information here. Do you have proof? Any?
      • Informative/insightful/interesting are all used pretty redundantly, and have been for quite some time, but yeah, they should probably be combined.

        Proof? That the MPAA has not decided to accept their fate? Have decided to stop pushing legislation to make every website out there liable to huge fines for users posting copyrighted material to them, severely limiting what we will be allowed to express online and likely making many valuable websites untenable? Are not involved in the worldwide conspiracy w
  • hacking, cracking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cockroach2 (117475) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:27PM (#41551025) Homepage

    I'm not sure that "most of us can agree [that these] should be illegal". Trying to outlaw that is usually accompanied by banning essential security tools like nmap, wireshark etc., tools that some of us actually need for "peaceful" purposes.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      I don't agree either, because these provisions are usually more about what you are allowed to do with what you've bought than they are about hacking other people's systems.

      Breaking DRM should be legal and applauded, not criminalised.

  • Can someone justify why the "libel" section is the most controversial?

    I really can't understand how anyone would want to protect peoples right to lie about others and destroy their reputation.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#41551195)

      Probably because it depends on who is deciding what is libel and what is not. Most likely it will be misused by rich people being accused of corruption getting their accusers into jail because 'nothing has been proven'.

      • Probably because it depends on who is deciding what is libel and what is not. Most likely it will be misused by rich people being accused of corruption getting their accusers into jail because 'nothing has been proven'.

        Writing "I believe Obama was born in Kenya because blah" instead of "Obama was born in Kenya" is a pretty easy way to avoid such risk, and if everyone did so, life would improve.

        • by lgw (121541)

          Or you can just accept that everything on the internet is just some troll's opinion, and does not pass the "reasonable man test" for libel.

    • by junior.kun (987391) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:46PM (#41551231)
      Truth is in the eye of the beholder. What is means is that if I attack someone's politics, they can throw me in jail by saying its libel. Have you never heard of "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say "
      • I don't know about libel suits against the traditonal media, which have their own legal teams. "Online" libel produces the same chilling effect as the mass legal action that targets online "copyright" violators. It turns the legal system into a class action suit in reverse. One party is able to sue dozens or even thousands of others.

        The idea isn't to "See you in court, honey" but to threaten enough people into submission. After all how many Joe orJane Blows can afford the services of a good lawyer? Or maybe

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220)

      Because liars aren't the problem. The believers are. A leader is never the problem. The followers always are. In every instance that you want to attack speech, you are all making the same mistake of not going after the listener instead. Case closed.

      • Because liars aren't the problem. The believers are. A leader is never the problem. The followers always are. In every instance that you want to attack speech, you are all making the same mistake of not going after the listener instead. Case closed.

        Have you ever had vindictive people actively trying to destroy your relationships and your reputation with lies? I have, in both the professional and personal realms of life, and I'm still suffering the consequences of people I don't even know thinking they know me when they don't. What would you suggest is the appropriate response?

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Have you ever had vindictive people actively trying to destroy your relationships and your reputation with lies?

          Who is really destroying your relationships? The credulous believers.

        • I'll throw it right back at you.. How do YOU react when somebody 'libels' another person, or tries to 'destroy' their reputation? If you believe the liar, and, say, deny the 'libeled' person a loan if you're a banker, or treat him any different than you normally would, I would say that you are the problem, not the guy telling the lies. Verification before acting is your obligation. If I found out you acted against a person because you believed a lie, I would work to have you punished. You leave the speaker

          • I'll throw it right back at you.. How do YOU react when somebody 'libels' another person, or tries to 'destroy' their reputation? If you believe the liar, and, say, deny the 'libeled' person a loan if you're a banker, or treat him any different than you normally would, I would say that you are the problem, not the guy telling the lies. Verification before acting is your obligation. If I found out you acted against a person because you believed a lie, I would work to have you punished. You leave the speaker alone and go after the listeners. It is that simple.

            Frank honesty?

            I react with violence against the person who lied to me.

            • Well, when I can...

            • Well, there ya go... You would be the person to lock up.

              • by Zagnar (722415)
                So lying for the express purpose of causing harm to someone is okay? I can agree that those who actually cause the harm by believing the lie are ignorant and foolish but the liar played some part, even if that part was pure intent, I would expect punishment for both parties.
                • Nope, free will, and all that. All you have to do is turn your back, or, if you prefer, you can make up lies about your tormentor. But you have no right to physically obstruct his speech in any way, except maybe over the decibel level. Those who actually act in bad faith are the only guilty party.

                  • Nope, free will, and all that. All you have to do is turn your back, or, if you prefer, you can make up lies about your tormentor. But you have no right to physically obstruct his speech in any way, except maybe over the decibel level. Those who actually act in bad faith are the only guilty party.

                    Well, not according to these laws :)

                  • You must be good at doublethink to take a position like that with a sig like yours.

                    • Only if you use some bizarre logic I'm not aware of. Feel free to spell it out. Authority is corrupt, a forbidden fruit. It invariably leads to perversion of character. The laws of nature are indisputable...

    • Simply put, they're worried about putting the power of determining what truth is in the government's hands. That's what's got the National Union of Journalists in that country up in arms.
    • Libel laws are frequently used by people & organisations to silence criticism. Regardless of the strength of your defence the legal costs can be prohibitive, so many people cave to the pressure.

      There was, for example, a well known case here in the UK where the British Chiropractic Association tried to sue Simon Singh after he wrote an article pointing out how many of the claims made by the practitioners are a crock of shit.
      He won the case, but he had to sell his house to back the costs.

      You might think that modern chiropractors restrict themselves to treating back problems, but in fact they still possess some quite wacky ideas. The fundamentalists argue that they can cure anything. And even the more moderate chiropractors have ideas above their station. The British Chiropractic Association claims that their members can help treat children with colic, sleeping and feeding problems, frequent ear infections, asthma and prolonged crying, even though there is not a jot of evidence. This organisation is the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments.

      See here: http: [wikipedia.org]

    • by Minwee (522556)

      I would tell you why that's a bad idea, but someone might say I was lying about the Philippine government and have me imprisoned for it.

      There are some people who believe that a government should pass no laws abridging the freedom of speech or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. It's not just a passing fancy that they had, it's a response to having lived with the alternative.

    • I didn't want to have an enormous summary, so I didn't flesh that out. FTA:

      Now, as someone who has been the target of many a vicious attack from commenters or forum posters, I can understand frustration with the nature of online anonymous criticism. But to actually try to make such a thing illegal? You wade into dangerous waters that anything resembling freedom of speech will likely drown in. And that’s overlooking the free speech implications trampled by banning pornography and file-sharing as well,

      • I'm not from the Philipines... is Truth an ironclad defense against libel there? Is demonstrable falsehood necessary to establish a conviction?

        Libel means different things in different places... but, if statements of opinion are protected, demonstrable truth is an ironclad defense and demonstrable falsehood of statements presented as fact lead to a conviction, then there's no issue that I can see.

        I've seen quite a lot in the news these days about "anti-bullying" legislation. Anti-bullying legislation that

        • Truth is not an ironclad defense against being arrested and bankrupting yourself trying to prove the truth when the opponent has far more resources then you, anywhere.

          That is the danger of these laws, a state where dissent is a dangerous proposition.

    • This from one of my Filipino friends...evidently the libel law could be used to prosecute someone who is critical of their local Mayor, for example, and posts something negative about it in Facebook. It could even be extended to prosecute anyone that posts comments in support of it, or shares it or even "Likes" it. So while most people are in agreement about the cybersex parts of the law, the libel clause is worrisome. The Philippine Constitution was crafted to be much like the American Constitution so ther

  • This law is a first step in setting up a new dictatorship. A dictator must be able to control what people can talk about and this legislation will give an evil president the tools to enslave her people.
    • by toriver (11308)

      Yeah, with this tool in place, the Marcos family would still be running the country as their fiefdom.

  • by Tibore Escalante (993235) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#41551189)

    Before anyone overreacts, keep in mind that this is being challenged. Multiple petitioners have filed against it: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/276301/scitech/technology/petitioners-seek-tro-vs-cybercrime-prevention-act [gmanetwork.com] http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/news/top-stories/32459-more-petitions-vs-cybercrime-law-filed [manilatimes.net]).

    Also, the country's journalism community was part of that filing: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/breaking-news/2012/10/03/journalists-rights-center-file-opposition-cybercrime-law-246154 [sunstar.com.ph]

    Some legislators have voiced concerns about it: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/davao/local-news/2012/10/03/davao-lawyers-want-cybercrime-law-reviewed-246097 [sunstar.com.ph] http://www.sunstar.com.ph/cebu/local-news/2012/10/02/cebuano-legislators-back-calls-amend-cybercrime-law-245887 [sunstar.com.ph]

    And if they're on the ball, the nation's version of the ACLU - the Civil Liberties Union of the Philippines - will be weighing in soon. The point is that this is not a done deal yet. There's no question that it's an ugly blow, but very few citizens trust the Filipino government with sweeping powers. The only question is what the protesters/challengers endurance is in fighting it.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:42PM (#41551197) Homepage Journal

    First they came for the trolls...

  • by Scutter (18425) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @01:08PM (#41551449) Journal

    Yes, there's the usual hacking, cracking, identity theft and spamming, which most of us can agree should be illegal.

    I can't agree on that at all, and especially with overly-broad terms like "hacking" (or even "spamming"). What is "spamming"? Is that any UCE or is that just penis enlargement pills? Because there's lots and lots and LOTS of perfectly legitimate commercial e-mail that one person would consider spam and another person doesn't.

    Hacking? What is hacking? Security research? Breaking into systems? What about altering systems that I own to do things they weren't intended to do?

    You don't speak for me, Forbes, so your blatant editorializing is not appreciated.

  • What a blatant attempt to fill up their roster of dancers [youtube.com].

  • Like SOPA and ACTA, this Orwellian-sounding Cybercrime "Prevention" Act is an omnibus law, a law that regulates many activities that have little in relation to each other. An omnibus law is the easiest way for someone to sneak in some really bad prohibitions among the few good ones.

    This is no different from enacting a law that has provisions both for riots and street demonstrations that merely disrupt traffic. To gain support, a proponent of such a law will focus on the anti-riot portion of the law, while p

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