Miriam vows to guide passage of bill on Internet freedom

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[/caption] Senate Bill No. 53, or the MCPIF, was the first bill Santiago filed in the new 16th Congress. “I consider the RH Bill as the biggest triumph of the 15th Congress,” the senator said. “Let’s do the same for the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom this new Congress.” If passed, Santiago’s bill will repeal the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act, or Republic Act No. 10175. “R.A. 10175 confines the Philippines to 20th century capabilities in this 21st century information society. Clearly, laws that have an impact on cyberspace must address the realities of the present and the challenges of the future,” she said. According to Santiago, her bill will protect the rights and freedoms of Filipinos in cyberspace, while defining and penalizing cybercrimes. “While it is important to crackdown on criminal activities on the internet, protecting constitutional rights like free expression, privacy, and due process should hold a higher place in crafting laws,” she said. Santiago said that the MCPIF upholds the right to free speech of Filipinos in cyberspace, unlike the much-criticized Cybercrime Prevention Act. “The MCPIF treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act. It is not overbroad or vague in its provisions on libel, unlike the cybercrime law,” she explained. If passed into law, the MCPIF will be the first law to be created through “crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing is an online process of getting work done by tapping people on the Internet who volunteer their talent and skills. According to Santiago, a group of concerned netizens-composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates-approached her office with a draft of the MCPIF. The group formulated the MCPIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter. “I call on all our young people to voice their support for this bill through social media. You are our new opinion-leaders. After the RH Bill, we saw how powerful social media can be in advancing our causes,” Santiago said. Democracy.Net.Ph, a network of Filipino bloggers and ICT experts involved crowdsourcing the bill, earlier released a statement supporting the MCPIF. ]]>

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