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Philippine Cybercrime Law Put On Indefinite Hold 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the knowing-better-than-canada dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Supreme Court of the Philippines has put an indefinite hold on a controversial law that would, among other things, ban cybersex and porn. A host of groups, particularly journalists, had resoundingly criticized the law, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, as broad and out of touch with how the Internet works. The Philippines' National Union of Journalists, for example, called its definition of libel 'a threat not only against the media and other communicators but anyone in the general public who has access to a computer and the Internet.'"
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Philippine Cybercrime Law Put On Indefinite Hold

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  • Porn isn't speech, bit torrent downloads aren't speech, and cybersex isn't speech.

    Speech was originally intended to protect political and social commentary. That is of value to society. Porn, piracy and cybersex are not. We can survive just fine without them.

    I realize this is an unpopular opinion on the internet, because (a) the internet has a daytime TV audience since September 1996 and (b) people like to believe their lives have meaning when they're crusading for "freedom" of some kind, even though they'r

    • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:00PM (#42875281)
      Cybersex IS speech, and porn is art (however far from fine art it is). When you consider how very central sexuality and control of sexuality has been to the political process across the globe, it doesn't make any sense to attempt to cast them as otherwise.

      The thing about free speech is, we don't need proof it leads to a better way of life. That's a strict standard to apply to sexuality and communication. Maybe some speech (speech being expression) society does find distasteful as a whole. Is that a reason to ban it? Is that a reason to insist it isn't even expression?
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Two people doing it in front of a camera is no more "art" than me sitting at my computer typing ... in front of a camera is "art". We need to redefine what "art" is in the age of ubiquitous cameras.

        I can see it now, the Sherrif's officers who beat Rodney King ... "Performance Art" ... because it was done on camera!

        • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:30PM (#42875563) Journal

          Nothing particularly requires that 'performance art' only include things that are legal and/or unobjectionable. However, punishing people for doing things that are illegal for other reasons during the course of producing 'art' is not generally considered to be a restriction on freedom of speech, any more than the illegality of sacrificing babies to satan is considered an infringement on religious freedom...

          There are some edge cases that get tricky(mostly on the side of people totally incidentally banning things that are required for speech or religions they don't like); but it isn't a terribly difficult conceptual distinction. Banning a speech act as such is a clear infringement of speech rights; but that doesn't confer any immunity from any other relevant laws on the speaker, should their speech involve breaching them.

          • However, punishing people for doing things that are illegal for other reasons during the course of producing 'art' is not generally considered to be a restriction on freedom of speech, any more than the illegality of sacrificing babies to satan is considered an infringement on religious freedom...

            True; Satanism is not banned, but occult sacrifice of babies is because it's murder (unless they're still in the womb, in which case it's Satanic ritual abortion, which sounds like it would really upset someone). I

        • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:34PM (#42875591) Homepage

          Ahhh .... I'll know it when I see it [wikipedia.org].

          Fortunately, case law has established the criteria for what can't qualify:

          The Miller case established what came to be known as the Miller Standard, which clearly articulated that three criteria must be met for a work to be legitimately subject to state regulations. The Court recognized the inherent risk in legislating what constitutes obscenity, and necessarily limited the scope of the criteria. The criteria were:
          1) The average person, applying local community standards, looking at the work in its entirety, appeals to the prurient interest.
          2) The work must describe or depict, in an obviously offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions.
          3) The work as a whole must lack "serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific values".

          So you'd need to prove that those two people doing it in front of a camera is all of the above, and some of those are very subjective.

          The problem with deciding one kind of 'speech' is free and one isn't is sooner or later someone comes to arrest you for suggesting that Geroge Bush resembled a monkey [about.com].

          You can't be for free speech but then decide there's parts of it you wish would go away -- I defend the right of someone to take a shit on a sheet and call it art. I don't get it, and I'm not interested in it, but I'm not going to appoint myself or anybody else to be the arbiter of what we should and shouldn't say. And you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, or you're setting yourself up for a situation in which one group or another gets to define 'art', 'obscene', and things you're allowed to say.

          Which is why the loons from Westboro Church are still around.

          • by Synerg1y (2169962)

            I agree for the most part, but you can't possibly call everything art, let them take a shit, but keep the bar level, don't call it art, just because something's legal doesn't make it moral, or pleasant. Rub their shit in their faces if they don't know any better and the problem will resolve itself, don't outlaw it, or call it art.

          • And yet:

            I defend the right of someone to take a shit on a sheet and call it art. I don't get it, and I'm not interested in it, but I'm not going to appoint myself or anybody else to be the arbiter of what we should and shouldn't say. And you have to be prepared to take the good with the bad, or you're setting yourself up for a situation in which one group or another gets to define 'art', 'obscene', and things you're allowed to say.

            You are defining art.

            You have precluded anyone in this society from raising

        • by Qzukk (229616)

          I can see it now, the Sherrif's officers who beat Rodney King ... "Performance Art" ... because it was done on camera!

          So what are you saying? That it's not art?

          If it's not art, then should the government be able to forbid the public from seeing its employees beat people?

          I'm all for declaring beating Rodney King to be NOT art AND declaring that the government should NOT be able to ban people from seeing it because the entire concept of "art is speech" is COMPLETELY WRONG.

          But yeah, I guess if you've got a har

          • Look, I never said that porn should be or shouldn't be legal. All I said was it wasn't art. Making a movie a cell mytosis isn't art either. Me saying something isn't art doesn't really equate to "banning", except to demented people.

        • what is art? (Score:4, Informative)

          by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @05:35PM (#42876095)
          re: is no more "art" than me sitting at my computer typing ...
          .
          counter-evidence: Andy Warhol and his "movies":
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andy_Warhol_filmography [wikipedia.org]
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Factory#Films
        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          Just because you don't consider it art doesn't mean you are correct. i once saw an art piece where a guy sat watching TV with a shotgun pointed at his head, there was a timer that was supposed to go off sometime between than and the year 2000 I believe, its been awhile. Now some would just call that insane or stupid, but many others saw it as a comment on our culture of violence and media.
        • Im willing to bet an artist has done a portrait of a guy sitting in front of his computer. It's more arr then a picture/painting of a soup can. Look it up if you dont get the soup can reference.
        • We need to redefine what "art" is in the age of ubiquitous cameras.

          I think art is that which has artistic intent and artistic effect.

          Porn is more like a product, in that it's roughly fungible and is consumed without particular regard for message, only a vague notion of "quality."

          It communicates nothing.

      • People in Western countries always want to force their views on foreign cultures that may very well have different ideas. But of course the Great White Man is most always thinking correctly in a universal way...

        I suspect this case in the Philippines has at least a significant element of cash money associated with the Sex Trade and powerful Filipinos involved in local and international sex trade including (gasp) Internet porn...

      • Some interesting responses in this thread. 18 of them. I don't know if I can reply to all of them or even many.

        Cybersex IS speech, and porn is art (however far from fine art it is).

        What's the reasoning behind this? Cybersex is people typing words, but that doesn't make it speech for the purposes of free speech. Neither is there any reason to support that porn is "art." Porn is a product like a Big Mac, except instead of sugared bread and soya-meat there's dongs.

        When you consider how very central sexuality a

    • by matthiasvegh (1800634) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:02PM (#42875291)
      If a government (or any other body) can disable sites/remove content at will for _any_ justification without due process, the same can be done for content that was not originally covered by the law. i.e.: political site, shut it down because it had porn on it. (regardless of whether or not there actually was any on the site). The problem with bans against subsets of speech is not that the actual subsets are considered to be valuable, but because the vagueness of what is considered pornographic means lawyers can just slap it on to anything.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        (_i_)

        That's ASCII art of a woman bending over.

        Shut down Slashdot immediately.

      • The problem with bans against subsets of speech is not that the actual subsets are considered to be valuable, but because the vagueness of what is considered pornographic means lawyers can just slap it on to anything.

        What political speech do you think is going to be categorized as pornography? Even in very conservative jurisdictions in the past, such decisions have been overthrown (I'm thinking of the Ulysses and Naked Lunch cases).

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:08PM (#42875353) Journal

      We have 'zero proof' that building legal and technical mechanisms suitable for the suppression of a given flavor of content leads to the use of those mechanisms being used for the suppression of other flavors, sometimes including your 'actual speech' category? Srsly?

      Mission creep is a well known phenomenon, and it's both easily historically observable that people's descriptions of political and social commentary they don't like frequently ends up tinged with the same vocabulary of condemnation as that used for porn('that's obscene' actually means that that includes some sordid fucking surprisingly infrequently).

      On the architectural side, technical and legal mechanisms for efficient content takedowns are virtually content-agnostic. Blacklists, wordlist filters, DMCA takedown forms, any of those can be trivially re-targeted just by dropping some new parameters in to the configuration.

      Lest this be dismissed as theoretical, observe the Russian experiment [economist.com].

      As for the babble about 'meaning' and 'the sacred', I'm just going to have to admit complete bafflement about what you are talking about.

      • by alexgieg (948359)

        As for the babble about 'meaning' and 'the sacred', I'm just going to have to admit complete bafflement about what you are talking about.

        I'll try to explain what the OP meant by this or at least what people who use those terms usually mean by using them in this way. The idea is more or less that there are two kinds of freedom, one that's based on your emotions and another that's based on your reasoning, and that the former is easier to the person and detrimental to the latter, and in reality not really freedom (think Star Wars' dark side vs. light side). So, from restrictive religions' perspective, the behavioral restrictions they place on t

        • So, from restrictive religions' perspective, the behavioral restrictions they place on the former is a means for an end: that of increasing the lat[t]er. It's kind of like metric poetry: by restricting how you express yourself it more or less frees you to become more creative on what you express.

          In other words, it enhances quality where permissiveness increases quantity. Great definition; thanks for adding it.

      • Mission creep is a well known phenomenon, and it's both easily historically observable that people's descriptions of political and social commentary they don't like frequently ends up tinged with the same vocabulary of condemnation as that used for porn

        You have made a comparison, but not shown a continuity. This is an implementation of slippery slope that most would consider a fallacy.

        They use the same language to describe anything they don't like or find disgusting. It does not mean the same mechanism will

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Porn isn't speech, bit torrent downloads aren't speech, and cybersex isn't speech.

      You're a fucking idiot.

      The courts (assuming you're talking about America) have repeatedly upheld porn as protected speech.

      We have no proof that legal porn/cybersex leads to a better way of life.

      The test for free speech isn't a better way of life, but it's intended to prevent assholes like you from telling other people what they can and can't do.

      It's very much about the ego and not at all about the sacred

      Fuck the sacred, fuck

      • While the delivery is inflamatory, this AC's message deserves an upmod. "Freedom of speech" covers all forms of expression and media. The minute you allow the censorship of a form or subject matter, you're on the slippery slope.
      • fuck Cthulu

        Woah. WOAH. Come on man...he'll hear you. Do you really want that?

      • it's intended to prevent assholes like you from telling other people what they can and can't do

        You're telling me what I can and can't do.

        According to you, I can't live in a society with any standards.

        Thus I'm doomed to ride the river of mediocrity into Idiocracy with fools like yourself who can't tell the difference.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Speech was originally intended to protect political and social commentary. That is of value to society. Porn, piracy and cybersex are not. We can survive just fine without them.

      Things evolve, and the definition of 'speech' as evolved with them.
      - Is typing something speech?
      - Is typing something into a chat window?
      - Is typing something into a word processor window?
      - Is typing something about sex?
      - Is typing something about sex into a chat window?
      - Is typing something about sex into a word processor window?

      I don't need to list all the options. If saying it in person is considered 'speech' then typing it and transmitting it to someone, or some website, is too. If speech as 'only sou

    • The problem is that we have no proof either way.

      A married couple has to spend several months apart in separate countries. Does cybersex help prevent infidelity? Does porn increase it? Or the complete opposite of both?

      A man is alone and out-casted from the people around him. Does cybersex and porn help him cope and decrease suicide or increase it? Does it increase rape through aggressive sexual porn acts or decrease it by providing an outlet of release?

      Or a more romanticized view, does cybersex fo
    • by Synerg1y (2169962)

      So, because porn & cybersex aren't free speech, go ahead and ban them? It's not the free speech argument that's at stake here, but the government overstepping its part into people's lives, however far away those people may be.

      You refer to the eternal September, implying age, so what if I was the government and told you you can't have sex with your wife unless it's to conceive a child, cause it's immoral and a sin? Suddenly, the fights at your door and it's personal, same concept, related to you.

      Who's

    • We can survive just fine without them.

      if you are going to start listing things we have and can buy that aren't required for survival, it's going to be a long list.

      We have no proof that legal porn/cybersex leads to a better way of life.

      do you have proof that washing dishes leads to a better way of life? how about digging ditches? do you have proof that cybersex leads to a worse way of life?

      Unfortunately these debates always become so emotional that soon it's children screaming at anyone who endorses anything but "do whatever you want, wherever and whenever, without consequences."

      sex is a natural thing. cybersex may seem perverted to some but i'd have to think that it results is less problems than engaging in real sex. there are no STDs, no rape, and so on. the party providing the cybersex is being compens

    • by Sique (173459)
      I don't see any reason to forbid cybersex at all. What's the point? Whose live gets improved if cybersex is generally outlawed? Who profits?
      For me, this is not primarily a speech issue, it's more an issue of Why anyway?
      People will have sex together with whatever means are available. If they can't touch each other, they will invent other ways. Once they wrote arousing mails, then they phoned each other and talked dirty. And now they are using the Internet. Why would one ever think that outlawing people tal
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      I think Michelangelo was pervy, do I get to ban him? I don't honestly care for any art with guy's junk hanging out, can we ban that too? You DO realize that most of what is considered art now was labeled as controversial and even smut in its own time? Fleurs de Mal was banned in several countries and heavily censored in others, same with Lady Chatterley's Lover.

      The point is just because i don't like something does NOT give me the right to destroy it or bury it where others can not see, and just because i st

    • Porn isn't speech, bit torrent downloads aren't speech, and cybersex isn't speech.

      Is your comment speech? Data isn't, apparently. Some of those are more so expression than speech.

      Speech was originally intended to protect political and social commentary.

      I'd say a government that protects political speech but freely bans everything else is not only a government that is not for the people, but one that people should actively oppose.

      Porn, piracy and cybersex are not.

      You don't get to decide that by yourself.

      We can survive just fine without them.

      We can survive just fine without a lot of things. Your comment, for example. Hell, we could survive without political speech being practically unrestricted!

      However, I think we need to stop worrying about what they do in other countries.

      If I see something that I believe is a

    • I know you're an idiot because you said "just bytes" as if what they contain is irrelevent. Thats like saying its okay to kill humans because we're really just a bunch of worthless molecules right? Can I hop on your online banking accounts and empty them? Just bytes right? Cybersex is strictly writing to each other. How is that not speech (dont say the obvious thing)? Porn has value to society. Its called sexual gratification. I know if im alone, and it's 3am, and im worked up...a good ol porn tug is very
    • by yenot (669123)

      We have no proof that legal porn/cybersex leads to a better way of life.

      You have the burden of proof backwards. In a free society, you don't regulate everything and then make exceptions. If you're going to limit the freedoms of others, you need proof that the actions being limited create negative externalities (negative consequences for 3rd parties).

      We also have zero proof that banning it leads to banning of actual speech, i.e. political/social commentary.

      There's plenty of historical proof that people in power will use available resources to maintain power. The infrastructure needed to censor porn on the Internet is the same infrastructure needed to censor political commentary.

      The sacred might emphasize a purpose in life beyond freedom/porn/cybersex, and it seems most people fear that, even if in non-religious form.

      Free

      • There's plenty of historical proof that people in power will use available resources to maintain power.

        I was wondering if someone would walk into this one.

        What evidence do you have that free speech and permissiveness are not available resources being used to maintain power?

        Ah.

  • The Supreme Court of the Philippines has put an indefinite hold on a controversial law that would, among other things, ban cybersex and porn.

    Lots of money in "cybersex and porn" in the Philippines...

  • What does ''... for favor or consideration" mean, exactly?
    • by Spectre (1685)

      Compensation. Not necessarily money, but something-done-for-something-gained type of exchange.

      They are trying to ban situations like: "You can live here rent free, but you will need to do a perform in my webcam shows on Friday evenings".
      The performance is being done for the favor of living in the spare room (which is a "valuable consideration" in legal terms ... something with a non-zero financial consequence).

      Disclaimer: Not a lawyer, not familiar with law in the Philippines. Do not consider the commen

      • by Spectre (1685)

        s/perform/performance/

        Yes, I know, "Preview" is required before "Submit" for a reason.

        • by mark-t (151149)
          Yeah.... IMO, it would help immensely if the preview and submit buttons weren't immediately beside eachother. I've accidentally hit submit when I meant preview so many times I've lost count.
  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:27PM (#42875533)

    The Philippines apparently has a huge problem with child pornography. Dirt bags the world over go there to take advantage of young children from mostly very poor families. The government tried to pass a law to punish those producing and consuming child pornography but went a little too far with some of the broad definitions they put in place. One of those definitions was around "slander". Personally I think the government was going in the right direction just too far on the slander bit. Hopefully they can come up with something that is stiff tough but more fair to the general population.

    • If their motives were so pure, they might have considered passing a law to deal with kiddy porn and child rape(which would now be in effect) rather than tying action on that issue to successfully ramming through a variety of much more dangerous and ill-considered changes(because of which they now don't have any progress on the issue).

      Tackling serious issues is a good thing; but tying them to getting your way on much more controversial(or simply frivolous) issues is about as overt a sign of bad faith as you

      • by mjwx (966435)

        If their motives were so pure, they might have considered passing a law to deal with kiddy porn and child rape(which would now be in effect) rather than tying action on that issue to successfully ramming through a variety of much more dangerous and ill-considered changes(because of which they now don't have any progress on the issue).

        If it were only that simple,

        The Philippines is a very, very devout catholic nation, doing things "for god" is as good as "for the children" and the two excuses are interchangeable by two (sometimes even three or four) faced politicians, so such laws can easily be co-opted in the name of the public morality (under God). If you think politics in western nations is screwed up, wait until you try to understand the politics of Asian nations.

        Something tells me that this was squashed by the PNP (Police) and

        • Yes you make a good point about the corruption in the Philippines. The new president has tried to institute some changes but the problem is that it's top to bottom. Everyone is on the take there. Bribes, big and small, are the lubricant of the Philippine economy. It's simply how you get things done. So it will be very difficult to unravel. Part of the problem is that people on the lower end (police, government workers, etc.) are paid a very low salary. They look at a bribe the same way we would look at a bo

  • Too bad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mike Frett (2811077) on Tuesday February 12, 2013 @04:30PM (#42875553)

    Anyone who knows, most of the sex cam sites house nothing but scammers from the Philippines. I use to investigate this, there have been too many people foolish enough to send money (mostly to Filipino transsexuals) to these people. 9/10 are there for the sole purpose of telling you their Mom, Dad etc are Ill and in need of money.

    It's mostly lonely men that fall for this and begin so called 'long-distance' relationships that involve monthly 'help' in the form of money. Not always, but sometimes it ends with money for travel to your country to meet you; incidentally, they never show and are normally not seen again. Russia, as of 2012 was the #1 Scam country with the Philippines riding close behind.

    Some of you probably know all about this and have been a victim. There are sites popping up all the time that have support forums for victims scammed by Filipinos. I myself am knee deep in documents and files from both Scammers and Victims. If it's any help, you can find them at many popular cam sites, there are several ways they scam, sometimes they want shows in Skype, you pay by Paypal etc but the show you get will not be what you paid for, and/or they will disappear. Other times it's the fake Boyfriend scam, you think you are in a relationship, but you are the 'Bank' for them and their Filipino counterpart.

    You get the Idea. Anyway, this Bill, however bad it may be; would have helped put a stop to this. Scammers win.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Anyway, this Bill, however bad it may be; would have helped put a stop to this.


      At the cost of putting a stop to free speech. Under this law, every negative comment online (e.g. twitter, facebook) can be loosely interpreted as slander by an aggrieved party.
    • by Mashiki (184564)

      You get the Idea. Anyway, this Bill, however bad it may be; would have helped put a stop to this. Scammers win.

      Sorry no law is worth that. It's a baby out with the bathwater argument. The real problem is that the filipino police are in no shape or state to deal with these crimes either. The other part is that large swaths of the filipino police are corrupt. They're still stuck in 1985 mode still. I've had long running discussions over this with my ex-GF(who was filipino) and her family over this, and generally the only way that this will get fixed is when the country as a whole gets their shit in order. It's d

    • by Fulminata (999320)
      Most of the sex cam sites house nothing but women trying to make a living. Some of them do indeed claim more hardship than they actually have in order to entice western men to send them even more money than they already paid for the sex show (usually around $1 a minute, of which the women get 25 to 50 cents at most).

      Western men who get "scammed" this way are usually out a couple hundred bucks at the very most. Women legitimately looking for a husband who get scammed by western men just looking for sex of
  • Slashdot is not a community opposed to pornography. Be honest: A lot of you enjoy it. I'll freely admit myself to frequently engaging in sexual roleplay online. It's a lot of fun. Because of this though, a lot of us have no understanding of the other side of the debate. All we see is a caricature screaming 'sex is evil!' I don't know anything about the philippines, but in the interests of fairness, here is the official stance of one of the leading American anti-pornography organisations:

    "Pornography has spr

  • There's some morality stuff going on here. If you've ever been here you'll know that movies are re-edited and sanitised, swearing is censored and all that. Which is amazingly weird since the females are generally quite hot... This will be mostly political. You can go to prison here for "offending the church" etc.

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