PNoy urged to sign bill after cybercrime raid

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[/caption] A total of 357 foreign nationals, mostly Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese, were arrested on Thursday, Aug. 23, by joint elements of Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) in the biggest operation carried out by law enforcement units in the history of anti-cybercrime drive. CIDG chief, Police Director Samuel D Pagdilao Jr. said CIDG and PAOCC operative led by Police Senior Superintendent Ranier Idio raided 20 residential units in several subdivisions located in Quezon City, Manila, Marikina, Cainta, and Antipolo where the foreigners were rounded up. Pagdilao said that among the arrested were two Filipino-Chinese who were tagged as the financier of the syndicate. There were identified as Maria Luisa Tan and Jonson Tan Co. All the suspects were brought to the Police National Training Institute (PNTI) in Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna where cases for violation of the Access Device Act are being readied against them. CIDG deputy director for operations Keith Singian said the arrested suspects have been doing international telecom and financial fraud similar to the 37 Chinese nationals that the CIDG has arrested in May 27 this year. Singian said the group’s modus operandi is a classic example of the operations of criminal syndicate in China, only this time, the suspects who are foreigners have used the Philippines as base of operations. By using the Internet, the group will call an unsuspecting victim in China to introduce themselves as members of Chinese police. The suspects would then tell the victims that their bank accounts were being used for money laundering and other terrorist funding activities. The syndicate will then tell the victim to transfer their money to a “safe account” that the suspects will provide, to which most of the victims have agreed out of fear from any action “police authorities” will do if they refuse to comply. The cybercriminals were said to have defrauded victims as much as P20 million a day. Following the crackdown on the group by the Chinese authorities in 2010, most groups involved in this modus operandi have moved their operations outside of China and continued their modus operandi of victimizing Chinese nationals through the Internet. Sen. Edgardo J. Angara said that it was fortunate that the illegal activities of the apprehended cybercriminals already fall under some of the country?s existing laws. ?But there is a wide range of other cybercrimes — like hacking, identity theft, phishing, data interference, and cyber prostitution — that has yet to be covered,? Angara said in a statement. The suspects are slated to face charges for violating the Access Device Regulation Act of 1998 (RA 8484), but authorities said that they will most likely be deported back to their home countries. “We need to give our law enforcement agencies not just the authority but also the capacity to tackle this new problem. And we need to do so fast as cybercrimes grow more sophisticated and complex along with the evolution of technology,” he emphasized. The lawmaker is the main author of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which also designates responsibilities to select government entities in the PNP, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to combat cybercrimes. Once the bill is enacted, P50 million from the national budget will be initially appropriated for the implementation of the act. Angara is also the author of the Data Privacy Act, which was recently signed into law by Aquino. The newly signed law is expected to strengthen the country?s IT-BPO industry by allowing the country to have International Data Privacy Standards, according to the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO). In a statement, ICTO executive director Louis Casambre said the measure will enable the country to replicate its success in call centers in other BPO segments such as healthcare outsourcing and HR outsourcing, where sensitive data is involved. The new legislation also creates the National Privacy Commission under the Office of the President that will enforce the law, receive complaints, set investigations, and impose requisite sanctions.]]>

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