The Cybercrime Prevention Law is an Assault to the People’s Basic Democratic Rights

Patnubay de Guia
Spokesperson, NDF-Southern Tagalog Region
October 7, 2012

The revolutionary advances in computer and communication technology has rendered obsolete mechanisms that obstruct free access to information and unimpeded social interactions that cut across national boundaries, classes, gender, races, colors and creed.

The Internet technology dates back in the Cold War period. Its origin was a US-government funded program intended to provide non-localized, redundant communications between military, scientific, educational and government entities in the event of a nuclear strike. As the Cold War ended, this technology was made available to the public as a source of profit by finance oligarchy and since then, Internet and communications technology has never been the same again.

But so powerful this technology is that its use goes beyond its intended Cold War purpose when effectively put into use in rallying popular support in overthrowing totalitarian and fascist regimes as in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen as well as explosion of major protests that shook authoritarian regimes in Algeria, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Sudan and Morocco – popularly known as the Arab Spring Rebellion. The same power was demonstrated in the powerful people’s movement against corporate greed as in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the Indignados in Spain that demanded a radical change of Spanish politics.

The Internet is a double-bladed weapon that can be used by imperialists and oppressive regimes against the people for counter-revolutionary purposes but can also be transformed as an effective weapon by the oppressed and exploited class against their class enemies.

In the country, lawmakers passed The Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2011 or Republic Act No. 10175 that is now effective and which the government is working on its Implementing Rules and Regulation. According to the Government of the Philippines (GPH), the said law is important in order to stop the “exploitation of information technology and communication to attain free, easy and intelligible access to exchange and/or delivery of information.” But behind this rhetoric and seemingly safe objective, lies GPH’s true intentions.

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) for the purpose of its Internal Peace and Security Plan-Bayanihan will clearly use the newly passes Cyber Crime Law for its continuing counter-insurgency efforts.

It serves as an excuse for the government to continue its surveillance of individuals whom the GPH alleges as terrorists such as organizations upholding national democracy. The law’s main targets are individuals and progressive organization criticizing the state for its lack of care and action to provide the basic needs of the people.

With the ability of the Internet to propagate information in seconds, the law provides and strengthens the state’s mechanism to stop the proliferation of revolutionary thoughts and ideas, or any ideas for that matter which it considers an attack to its own image – an image the state has worked so hard to make by exploiting the same domain it aims to dominate.

With provisions that allow the state’s apparatuses such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Department of Justice to trance information and look on to every confidential data in the cyber world, the Cybercrime Prevention Law clearly violates the Right to Privacy. The inclusion of libel as a punishable act suppresses the right of every individual to freedom of speech and the freedom to express.

In substance, the Cybercrime Prevention Law is hiding behind the cloak of running after so-called cybercriminals to mark its true intent – to stifle dissent and infringe on the people’s constitutional right to freedom of expression and right to privacy. This law legitimizes the creation of an elaborate spy network to monitor its citizenry not different from ECHELON – America’s global secret surveillance network. In the name of national security and cybercrime prevention, the state’s security and prosecutorial agencies can pry into people’s privacy without judicial review and approval and prosecute suspected offenders without due process. This law smacks of a dangerous precedent on how the reactionary Congress can be so blatant in inserting and approving fascist measures in the law making process. This is implementing Martial Law measures without formally declaring a state of emergency. One can only imagine how diabolical this law is!

The Filipino people should firmly oppose and scrap the Cybercrime Prevention Law. They must expose and continue to rally against the continuing intervention of US imperialist now in the World Wide Web. They should use cyberspace and technology to further strengthen its struggle for national democracy and advance the proletarian revolution.