4 Oct 2012

New cyber crime law in the Philippines

9:00 am on 4 October 2012

Legislation aimed at targeting internet crime is now in effect in the Philippines.

The primary function of the Cybercrime Prevention Act is to criminalise online identity theft, forgery and child pornography, but the BBC reports the law has many critics.

The new law was signed by the president on 12 September. Officials say it is intended to prevent cybersex, online child pornography, identity theft and spamming.

But it also makes libel a cybercrime punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

Under the new act, a person found guilty of libellous comments online, including comments made on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter or blogs, could be fined or jailed.

At least eight petitions from various groups challenging its constitutionality have been filed with the highest court in the Philippines.

The BBC reports anonymous activists have hacked into government websites and many Facebook users have replaced their profile picture with a blank screen.