Lawmaker files Magna Carta for Internet users

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[/caption] Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) said House Bill 6818 declares as unlawful the monitoring or analyzing of data by an Internet service provider without prior knowledge and consent of the user or subscriber to ensure the privacy of Internet users. The filing comes at a time when Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Law is being deliberated by the Supreme Court regarding its constitutionality. Palatino, incidentally, is one of the petitioners against the controversial law. The bill prohibits Internet surveillance and data collection on users by agencies and instrumentalities of the government without securing a court order; identification of Internet users and disclosure of their communications data without a court order; and accessing communications data by persons other than public authorities that are directly involved in criminal investigations and criminal proceedings. According to Palatino, Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency to ensure access to information and facilitate active citizen participation in building democratic societies. “The advancement of information and communications technology has brought many advantages as well as challenges to its users and the authorities regulating its use. The creation of the Internet is a landmark development that has caused a revolutionary effect to a majority of the world’s population as it now affects almost all aspects of human life,” Palatino said. Palatino also said the Internet has greatly affected the social, cultural, political and economic development of the world. It has changed the ways that transactions are done, he said. “One can now do real time business with someone who is half-way around the world. Families can easily communicate with their loved ones who work abroad. People are now more involved in the formulation of policies by the government and even the implementation of government programs can now be monitored by the citizens through the Internet,” Palatino said. “However, unscrupulous persons have also adapted to the development of information and communications technologies and have found ways to exploit Internet-based opportunities and take advantage of other people by committing crimes through online and computer platforms,” Palatino added. Under the measure to be known as the “Internet Freedom Act,” Filipino Internet subscribers shall enjoy basic rights that include universal access to the Internet; the right to gather and participate in shared learning, creation and exchange of ideas through online activities; right to benefit from their ideas, creations and publications on the Internet, including but not limited to monetary remunerations and credit for the work done; right to quality of connection; freedom of expression and right to privacy. Palatino said since the state recognizes the importance of ICT in nation building and its concomitant obligation to ensure the people’s enjoyment of the right to freedom of speech and of expression, it is imperative that it shall guarantee the free flow of information and the growth, promotion and development of ICT and industries. Palatino said this is contained in a report by the United Nations Human Rights Commission released in June 2011, which stated that Internet has become an indispensable tool for realizing a range of human rights, combating inequality, and accelerating development and human progress, ensuring universal access to the Internet should be a priority for all states. ]]>

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