Curator Tom George: This is something you should be paying close attention too. You may not live in the Philippines, but it sets a bad International precedent. What I am talking about is any law that governs the Internet that leaves to much open to interpretation. Such laws will give the government to much power and potentially take away our freedom of speech and our ability to express ourselves without fear of having our liberty and freedoms stripped away from us.
Internet users are up in arms in the Philippines over a new law that could land them in jail for engaging in “malicious” online activity.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, which takes effect Wednesday, criminalizes identity theft, hacking, spamming, online trafficking and file-sharing. However, a couple of controversial provisions changed what could have been a standard law against illegal online activity into a potential way to gag free speech.
A last-minute addition to the law prohibits online libel “committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future,” which allows a wide range of online activity to be interpreted as libelous. According to lawyers, bloggers, journalists and political activists, the vaguely worded law leaves too much room for interpretation, giving the government unprecedented control of the Internet.