Cybercrime Law can?t be used to stifle freedom of speech — Angara

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[/caption] Angara, chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology, noted that around 30 million Filipinos — roughly 30 percent of the population — access the Internet, with this number growing exponentially. “The Internet has become so pervasive that it is already an essential component of many people’s lives. But as the technology evolved, so has the opportunity expanded for real harm to be done,” said Angara in a statement. He stressed that prior to the enactment of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), the Internet was uncharted territory where anybody could adopt a free-for-all attitude. “Minus the law, our cyberspace will remain a wild frontier where no due process is afforded to victims of legitimate Internet-related crimes. With it in place, we actually extend the protections provided in our Constitution to the digital realm.” Various groups protested the inclusion of libel in the bill calling it an infringement on freedom of speech. Angara, who is also Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), emphasized that any ambiguity in the measure can be clarified in its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). According to RA 10175, government is tasked to formulate the IRR within 90 days of approval of the law, which was signed by Pres. Benigno Aquino III on September 12, 2012. Recently, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda told the media that an inter-agency body comprised of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Information and Communications Technology Office under the Department of Science and Technology (ICTO-DOST) will start working on the IRR. Angara concluded, “We have to give the law a chance and see how it will be implemented. Only then will the loopholes and the gaps be identified and properly addressed. But as it is, I believe this law is a milestone for ICT in the country.” ]]>

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