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IP-Watch interns Brittany Ngo (Yale Graduate School of Public Health) and Caitlin McGivern (University of Law, London) talk about their Geneva experience in summer 2013. 2:42.

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Quantitative Analysis Of Contributions To NETMundial Meeting

A quantitative analysis of the 187 submissions to the April NETmundial conference on the future of internet governance shows broad support for improving security, ensuring respect for privacy, ensuring freedom of expression, and globalizing the IANA function, analyst Richard Hill writes.


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    Philippines Mulls Suspended Cybercrime Law Restricting Communication

    Published on 23 January 2013 @ 2:20 pm

    By for Intellectual Property Watch

    Manila, Philippines – The Philippine Supreme Court has begun to hear and weigh the arguments on the constitutionality of a controversial law listing punishable activities on the internet. Its implementation was suspended last year amid mounting criticism that, among other things, the law curtails freedom of speech and harks the country back to the almost a decade of repressive martial rule in the 1970s.

    The oral hearing on the law that was signed in September last year, Republic Act No. 10175, began on 15 January. The second oral hearing was initially scheduled for 22 January, for the government through its Solicitor General to present counter arguments, but at the last minute was moved to 29 January due to the unavailability of the official. The Philippines on the same day announced it would bring a territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea to an international tribunal.

    At the first session, the high court heard arguments from representatives of the individuals and civil society groups who filed the 15 petitions against the law. The filing of these petitions prompted the court to issue a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the law’s implementation on 9 October. The law could take effect after 6 February unless the court extends the suspension or makes a decision on the constitutionality of the law or some of its provisions.

    The Supreme Court agreed to discuss with the petitioners the constitutionality of at least five contentious topics in the law for the time being, according to a Supreme Court advisory [pdf].

    The first item in the list concerns cyber libel and cyber sex, defined respectively as the “defamation by written words committed using a computer system” and the “willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organ or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration.” The other issues are: the higher penalty imposed for online violations as compared to their offline equivalents; restricting or blocking access to computer data; the collection of traffic data in real time; and punishing internet users for “aiding or abetting” a cybercrime offence.

    This moment of legal reflection comes at a time when the use of the internet, particularly social media, is becoming more prevalent in developing countries such as the Philippines and at this time when the United Nations has already upheld the online rights of an individual through the recent UN Human Rights Council resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet.

    Furthermore, the debate also touches on the liability of the users of online intermediaries such as social media platforms Facebook and Twitter whose users very often are not the original creators of content but only assisting the dissemination of those online content.

    Lawyer Harry Roque, one of the counsels who argued against the law at the oral hearing, described the law’s provisions on libel and cybersex as both “overbreadth” and “void for vagueness.” He asked the court whether retweets on Twitter and the likes on Facebook could make social media users liable for libel and on whether libelous remarks of readers who commented on blog posts could make the blog owners liable for libel. Roque’s blog account of the oral hearing is here http://harryroque.com/.

    The debate also highlights the general liability of online intermediaries, a topic which has long been regarded as controversial worldwide. In the United States, for instance, in the 1998 defamation case of Blumenthal v. Drudge and AOL, the court held that AOL, the internet service provider that hosted and paid for the column of online blogger Matt Drudge, was immune from liability under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

    Roque said that under the current provisions in the law it is hard to ascertain whether internet service providers, telecommunications and social networking companies could be liable for cybercrime offenses, particularly for libel.

    “The Philippines has moved from having the least regulated internet to amongst the most draconian. We have unfortunately opted to join the other oppressive regimes in ASEAN,” Roque told Intellectual Property Watch.

    In Southeast Asia, according to tentative results of a survey done by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, only Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia have no cybercrime regulations in the 10 member states of ASEAN.

    Maricel Estavillo may be reached at maricelestavillo@gmail.com.

     

    Comments

    1. Google sets up shop in the Philippines, where the media is “partly free” – Quartz says:

      [...] many outlets self-censor because of violence against journalists, and the country is currently considering a cybercrime law that critics say infringes on free [...]

    2. The Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) | Reaching Across Borders to Support Communications Scholarship says:

      [...] 01.22: The Philippine Supreme Court began to hear a second round of arguments this week regarding the constitutionality of its Cybercrime law. The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was enacted this past September, though critics argue that it impedes freedom of expression. Fifteen petitions have been filed against the law. [...]

    3. Philippines Mulls Suspended Cybercrime Law Restricting Communication | Anything IP says:

      [...] This story first appeared on Intellectual Property Watch. [...]

    4. Tucker Law says:

      Wow! Does anyone have an update on this legislation? This is just over-the-top and extremely vague.

    5. Tucker Law says:

      Surely they cannot hold service providers responsible for the actions of individuals right?


    Leave a Reply

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website. By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    We welcome your participation in article and blog comment threads, and other discussion forums, where we encourage you to analyse and react to the content available on the Intellectual Property Watch website.

    By participating in discussions or reader forums, or by submitting opinion pieces or comments to articles, blogs, reviews or multimedia features, you are consenting to these rules.

    1. You agree that you are fully responsible for the content that you post. You will not knowingly post content that violates the copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property right of any third party or which you know is under a confidentiality obligation preventing its publication and that you will request removal of the same should you discover that you have violated this provision. Likewise, you may not post content that is libelous, defamatory, obscene, abusive, that violates a third party's right to privacy, that otherwise violates any applicable local, state, national or international law, that amounts to spamming or that is otherwise inappropriate. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual preference, disability or other classification. Epithets and other language intended to intimidate or to incite violence are also prohibited. Furthermore, you may not impersonate others.

    2. You understand and agree that Intellectual Property Watch is not responsible for any content posted by you or third parties. You further understand that IP Watch does not monitor the content posted. Nevertheless, IP Watch may monitor the any user-generated content as it chooses and reserves the right to remove, edit or otherwise alter content that it deems inappropriate for any reason whatever without consent nor notice. We further reserve the right, in our sole discretion, to remove a user's privilege to post content on our site. IP Watch is not in any manner endorsing the content of the discussion forums and cannot and will not vouch for its reliability or otherwise accept liability for it.

    3. By submitting any contribution to IP Watch, you warrant that your contribution is your own original work and that you have the right to make it available to IP Watch for all purposes and you agree to indemnify IP Watch, its directors, employees and agents against all damages, legal fees and others expenses that may be incurred by IP Watch as a result of your breach of warranty or of these terms.

    4. You further agree not to publish any personal information about yourself or anyone else (for example telephone number or home address). If you add a comment to a blog, be aware that your email address will be apparent.

    5. IP Watch will not be liable for any loss including but not limited to the following (whether such losses are foreseen, known or otherwise): loss of data, loss of revenue or anticipated profit, loss of business, loss of opportunity, loss of goodwill or injury to reputation, losses suffered by third parties, any indirect, consequential or exemplary damages.

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