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On Cybercrime Law: How They Pretend to Protect ‘Little’ Pinoys to Take Away Your Freedom

January 18, 2013
PNoy's cybercrime law in the high Court.

PNoy’s cybercrime law in the high Court.

Express your strong opposition on Facebook: Oppose the Orwellian Cybercrime Law

I spent more than an hour listening to this audio track of the recent oral arguments on the controversial cybercrime law. I must say petitioner and human rights lawyer Harry Roque did a great job presenting his arguments against the orwellian law and responding to the questions of the the justices of the Supreme Court.

Roque called the law “really draconian” and in violating of the people’s freedom of expression. The petitioners challenge the constitutionality of the law on grounds of equal protection and double jeopardy.

One justice asked: “Does the State have a right to regulate the Internet in order to protect people against cyber-bullying, online defamation, etc” (not the exact wordings).

I think the proper question is: Are there any other ways to ‘regulate’ the Internet without direct State intervention. 

The answer is, YES, there are many ways. They are as follows:

  • You may report cases of “cyber-bullying” to site admins (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, blog owners, etc.)
  • You may simply block the cyber-bully.
  • Or: You may confront him/her. Virtually bury the bully six feet under. Quarter him/her, if you want to. You may also virtual-massacre him/her (pun intended).
  • Ignore the cyber-bully.

That same Justice rejected the concept of “free market of ideas” as an argument against the law, calling it “lofty ideas”. She also said the Internet has allowed people “to cross the line”.

Roque said: “The Internet, certainly the social networks are self-policing. There are ways and means where you can literally shut up a person who you think is bullying you, just like in Facebook that would mean you will remove him from your network. You could isolate him. There are various ways of doing it.”

“The nature of the Internet is, they want to regulate themselves,” he added.

So, you still want to ask who’ll build the roads? ;-)

Another Justice asked: “If we declare this provision of the law (on cyber-libel) out-rightly unconstitutional, then therefore, what would be the protection to be given not to public officers, but to ordinary persons, who may be libeled in cyberspace.”

The lady Justice also talked about finding a balance between allowing freedom of expression and protecting those who may be victimized by possible excessive use of the same freedom.

If this Justice favors the law, then she’s actually using you and me- as ordinary individuals without enough voice and influence in cyberspace- as a justification to affirm P-Noy’s “legal” attack on free speech and Internet freedom.

In the first place, what “protection” is this Justice talking about? Internet freedom is about freedom of choice. You may choose to join the cyberspace or not. It’s all up to you. And if someone who has the “bigger voice”, means or influence used his/her privileged status to “silence” you or to “prevent” (to use the justice’s term) you from exercising your right to free speech, then the best solution is, let “natural” justice take its course. That abusive person might one day lose his/her credibility due to his/her irresponsible online actions.

It’s even difficult to understand how the Justice used the word “protection” or “preventing someone from exercising his right to free speech” (the words used by one Justice). Does that mean that if a blogger deleted the comments of a rude commenter, that is already tantamount to preventing the latter’s right to post BS comments?

Observe how they they try to pretend the law was designed to protect us– the weak, the little, voiceless pinoys– to rob us of our freedom.

  • You may download a copy of the anti-cybercrime law petition here.

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