Cyber Martial Law has been declared. Our freedom has been killed. EDSA is grieving.
Join us on February 25, 28th anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, as we once again fight for our freedom.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the majority of the provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (RA 10175) despite the petition of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) to junk the law for being contrary to the democratic values and rights of the sovereign Filipino people.
PIFA expresses regret for the Supreme Court for having missed the chance to become champions of internet freedom. Although reserving the right to allow the high court to reconsider RA 10175 as Cyber Martial Law, PIFA must now shift its advocacy to the arena of Congress to get legislators to repeal RA10175.
PIFA is flabbergasted at the retention of the cyberlibel provision . This repressive encroachment on the freedom of expression propagates a chilling effect across cyberspace, muting or outright silencing dissent and discourse on public matters. Foisting the threat of prison sentences for cyberlibel – increased from four years to ten years imprisonment – is contrary to the global trend to decriminalize libel.
In 2012, President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III even told the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) that he was considering the global trend to decriminalize libel. During the oral arguments, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio pointed out that no less than the United Nations Human Rights Committee has called the attention of the Philippine government to amend its laws to remove libel from its criminal statutes.
Even after the High Court’s ruling last Tuesday, Justice Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy of the Cybercrime Office affirmed that the cyberlibel provision is an unwanted burden on government authorities because such was never considered to be a cybercrime at all under the Budapest Convention. It must be recalled that in the House of Representatives, a cyberdefamation provision was deliberately deleted; but unfortunately in the Senate, the cyberlibel provision was rudely inserted and somehow became part of RA10175.
PIFA is dismayed that the cybersex provision was also retained in RA1017. It will be recalled during the oral arguments, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta pointed out that contrary to Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza’s claim that what the cybersex provision meant to prohibit was “cyber pornography”, nowhere at all is the term “cyber pornography” found in the law. This is crucial because even the intimate private acts of consenting couples would be prosecuted as public crimes.
In instances where at least one of the parties does not consent to the sexual act imposed on them by force or deceit, the cybersex provision would penalize the victim together with the perpetrator – failing to distinguish one from the other. This would dilute if not obliterate the substantial progressive strides made under the Anti-Human Trafficking Law the Anti-Child Pornography Law, and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Law in protecting the rights of sex crime victims.
PIFA is just waiting for the copy of the official Supreme Court decision to firm up its arguments and file for a motion for reconsideration. We believe that even though the 12 justice majority won’t probably be swayed to correct the ruling, the legal arguments why the majority opinion is wrong must be shown to the public and be recorded for posterity, in hopes that the high court in some future date will realize how wrong it was to uphold Cyber Martial Law.
When the Supreme Court during the Marcos Regime tied its own hands to allow “no legal impediment” to the march of Martial Law rule, the drafters of the 1987 Constitution imposed on the high court the duty to strike down any government act committed in excess of lawful jurisdiction. That duty includes declaring as void and unconstitutional laws passed by Congress and signed into law by the Chief Executive that are, however, in violation of human rights as recognized by international treaties and customary law.
PIFA reiterates that human rights offline – the freedom of expression and the right to privacy among them – are the same as human rights online, and the State is duty-bound to recognize, defend and promote these rights held by individual citizens in cyberspace.
PIFA reiterates that the infirmities of RA10175 cannot be cured by the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that are currently being drawn up by the Executive branch. In other words, the Department of Justice cannot “correct” or “remedy” a bad law by means of IRR. Bearing this in mind, PIFA will still engage the DOJ which has called for the public’s participation in the drafting of the IRR of RA10175. PIFA will attend to point out to government officials and put on record the repressive nature of Cyber Martial Law, while maintaining steadfast the continuing principled objection to an unjust law is a moral obligation of the sovereign people.
No to cyber martial law! Never again will the Filipino people let their own government rule with impunity.
We, the undersigned organizations, join the global call for the end to arbitrary and mass surveillance and collection of personal data, and support the struggle to repeal Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
In this age of the internet, the rights and freedoms that peoples’ struggles have long won are again facing imminent threats of repression and denial. Last year, through Edward Snowden, we learned of the massive and systematic digital surveillance perpetrated by the world’s governments, all without adequate public oversight and without citizens’ knowledge and consent. In many countries, from the United States and the United Kingdom to the Southeast Asian region, these fundamental rights and freedoms are in danger of being eroded and are being eroded by laws and policies extending censorship and control to the internet.
We assert that policies and actions of indiscriminate and arbitrary collection of personal data interfere with and violate the freedoms of expression and of association, and of access to and exchange of information and ideas—freedom and rights that are enshrined in international human rights laws and standards, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and that are essential to the preservation and perpetuation of democracy. Mass surveillance does not have a place in a free and democratic society.
We join the chorus of voices of peoples from all over the globe in calling upon all governments to uphold the right of all individuals to use information and communications technologies such as the Internet without fear of unwarranted interference.
To this end, we commit to the continuing struggle for the advancement of fundamental human rights, and support the calls of the movement for internet freedom in the Philippines for:
1. Repeal of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012;
2. Public Participation in crafting policies that seek to govern or regulate the internet, in order to safeguard internet freedom; and,
3. Recognition and respect of the private sector of human rights.
We express our solidarity with the united movements of human rights and internet freedom defenders across the globe. Today we #StopCyberMartialLaw! Today is #TheDayWeFightBack!
- Foundation for Media Alternatives
- Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition (APSOC)
- Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance
- Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau
- Dakila Artist Collective
- Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID)
- Gender and Development Advocates (GANDA) – Filipinas
- LGBTS Christian Church
- Association of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP)
- Human Rights Online Philippines
- Youth for Rights
- Piglas Kabataan
- KAISA – Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan
- UP Internet Freedom Association
- Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
- Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PIFA lauds SC for TRO vs Cyber Martial Law
The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) lauds the Supreme Court for heeding the people’s call to temporarily restrain the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 10175. It signals that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno will remain independent and attuned to the sentiments of the Filipino people. We ask the Supreme Court to uphold our basic human rights, including Internet freedom, by ruling with finality that RA 10175 is unconstitutional.
PIFA vows to bring the fight to the halls of Congress to ensure that this legislative abomination gets repealed. We implore our elected representatives to reconsider their positions in light of the order of the Supreme Court. We demand that they junk RA 10175 and start the process of crafting a new law that involves the participation of all stakeholders – whether offline or online.PIFA calls on the Filipino people to remain vigilant and protect this temporary victory. Even as the Supreme Court ruled to suspend the implementation of the law, it can still choose to later on lift the TRO under pressure from anti-democratic forces who want to see the Cybercrime Prevention Act implemented. We cannot let this happen.
Finally, PIFA invites all netizens to consistently participate in its efforts to pressure our legislators to repeal RA 10175. Let us make them know that we will not elect, tolerate, nor bow down to anyone who has no qualms in trampling upon our basic human rights offline and online.
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0917 505 70 55
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PIFA Files 15th Petition vs. Cyber Martial Law
The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) – a broad alliance of organizations and netizens – has filed before the Supreme Court on Monday (October 8, 2012), just a few minutes before the end of office hours, the fifteenth petition against the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, Republic Act 10175.
Petitioners asked the high court to issue a “Status Quo Ante Order and/or writ of preliminary injunction” to make government “observe the status quo prevailing before the enactment and effectivity of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.”
PIFA claims that its members have “legal standing to sue” because of the “chilling effect” that impacted on their online activities beginning October 3 – when RA 10175 took effect – subjecting netizens to “unwarranted electronic surveillance” by the Philippine government 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Section 12 of RA 10175 provides for “real-time collection of traffic data” which, the petition explains, “refers to [the collection of] ‘any computer data other than the content of the communication, including, but not limited to, the communication’s origin, destination, route, time, date, size, duration, or type of underlying service.’ …[which] includes information on the identity of the person sending or receiving computer data.”
The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA) started in a facebook page as a broad coalition of individuals and organizations seeking to amend / remove the provisions which threaten Internet Freedom in Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. In the long-term, it aims to be the bastion of this freedom.
Please read our unity statement and decide if you want to be a member of the Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance by signing here or the form below the cut. (Email address will not be shown but will be used to communicate with you)
If you run a website, please consider joining us in a website blackout protest/awareness raising for the cybercrime law. To join, you simply need to attach the following script to your website. The script will start blacking out your website from October 2 onwards. Your website visitors will be shown a blackout splash page with a link to this website and a link that will dismiss the blackout.
Using the default script, visitors will get a cookie to remove the blackout after they’ve clicked through. The blackout will return after a day to remind your visitors about the Cybercrime bill. If you want a different behavior, feel free to modify the scripts or request for it on the comments.
If your site is already using jQuery, you can remove the line that includes jQuery. If you are able to, it would help our hosting if you can host the script in your own server. You may download various versions of the script, depending on your needs:
(2.81 KB) – Original source code version, uncompressed. Remembers when a site visitor has seen the blackout.
- http://pifa.ph/blackout/call-to-action-always-show.js (2.91 KB) A version of the script that will always show the blackout whenever the user visits a page on your website (not recommended).
Users of social media sites can also take part in the online protest by changing their profile pictures or posting cybercrime protest images.
<a href="http://pifa.ph"><img src="http://pifa.ph/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/pifa-web-button.png" /></a>
For Tumblr, this may only work with certain layouts. Edit your layout, open your description textbox and paste the default code into your description.
One of the ways you can raise awareness about the harm the cybercrime law poses to freedom of speech on the internet is to change your profile image in protest. We also have images for your Facebook profile cover image and a header image for you twitter account. Spread the word, fight for freedom of speech on the internet. If you run a website, you may also want to take part in the website blackout protest.
PIFA web site: http://pifa.ph/
Text of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175: http://www.gov.ph/2012/09/