SC flooded with petitions against Cybercrime Law

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UPDATE: The number of petitions has increased to four as of Thursday, Sept. 27. The latest petition was filed by Sen. Teofisto ?TG? Guingona III. Last Tuesday, Internet law expert Atty. JJ Disini and e-commerce advocate Janet Toral also file their petition before the SC. CenterLaw, headed by human rights lawyer Harry Roque, said they will also question the Cybercrime Law before the high court on Friday, Sept. 28. In the petitions already filed at the SC, ABS-CBN.com and InterAksyon.com named the petitioners as businessman Louis “Barok” Biraogo and party-list group Alam. In their 28-page petition for certiorari, prohibition, injunction and preliminary injunction filed on Sept. 24, Biraogo and Alam contend that ?Sec. 4(c) [4], Sec. 12, Sec. 20, and the penal provisions of the law? as unconstitutional. “With the enactment of Republic Act No. 10175, cyber technology, once a boom to petitioner and the general public, is now subjected to subtle but pervasive State monitoring and control,” the petition read, as quoted by ABS-CBN.com. Section 4 [c] penalizes libel ?committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.? Section 12, meanwhile, deems illegal ?to collect or record by technical or electronic means traffic data in real-time associated with specified communications transmitted by means of a computer system.? Section 20 lists the penalties for non-compliance with the law. Biraogo said the passage of the law was ?attended with grave abuse of discretion because its questioned provisions contravene Sections 3 (1) (on inviolability of privacy of communication) and 4 (on freedom of speech, of expression, of the press, and peaceful assembly), Art. III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution.” Biraogo is the same businessman who successfully petitioned the SC for the nullification of President Aquino?s creation of the Truth Commission. Online site BicolToday.com earlier reported that Palatino is set to challenge the law before the SC. The petition, however, will also question Section 19 of the law. Under that section is a controversial provision that gives the Department of Justice the power to ?restrict or block? a website based on prima facie evidence. ?This effectively gives DOJ total control of the Internet in the Philippines. As only prima facie evidence is needed, the new law has done away with due process. Once the DOJ realizes this new power and uses this provision to take down dissident websites ? that would be the death of Internet freedom as we know it,? Palatino said, as quoted by BicolToday.com.]]>

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