Are you a cyber criminal?

September 23, 2009

The broad definitions of terms such as “cyber-crime”, “cyber-sex” etc., as well as the loose argument sand principles of “punishable acts” may be used to wrongfully trample upon, disregard and/or discount the inherent rights of citizens to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of the press (for online media entities).

Section 4.C.1(b) stipulates that it shall be unlawful to record “private acts, including but not limited to sexual acts, without the consent of all parties to the said acts or disseminating any such recording by any electronic means with or without the consent of all parties to the said acts.” The vague, catch-all phrase “including but not limited to” endangers, wittingly or unwittingly, even political issues or matters of public interest, of acts by public officials. It endangers, for example, the freedom of investigative news reports from exposing acts by public officials and may serve as a convenient excuse for officials to escape accountability.

Section 4.C.3 stipulating that “the transmission of commercial electronic communication with the use of computer system which seek to advertise, sell, or offer for sale products and services are prohibited” may be used to misconstrue the practice of placing online ads, self-promotion of products or websites and/or the use of the Internet to advertise events, personalities, causes and such even through emails, personal or private websites and/or free social networking sites such as Facebook, Multiply and Twitter.

It is also disturbing that the bill does not clearly state but merely imply the inclusion of mobile phones, iPods, MP3 players and other electronic devices. These should be clearly affirmed as their inclusion would undeniably further broaden the scope and effect of the proposals not only to Internet users but also to ordinary citizens in general.

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