According to multiple reports the Supreme Court will rule that most of the provisions of the Cybercrime Law are constitutional. This includes Internet libel, data interference, cybersquatting, identity theft, child pornography, cybersex, and hacking into computer systems. Nobody raised hell with almost all of the violations except from Internet Libel. This is actually very tricky since a lot of legal luminaries say that this provision is actually redundant because Internet Libel can be already considered a violation via the usual Libel law today. Its inclusion in the bill actually just increases the penalties for it versus actually creating a law that makes Internet Libel illegal.
Last year when I was campaigning heavily against the Cybercrime Law, especially on the inclusion of Internet Libel, I was caught off guard by a question from a friend:
“Eh kung ikaw kaya ma-biktima ng Internet Libel? Ma-cyberbully? Kung walang batas, you won’t have any protection.”
I didn’t have an answer so I just ignored the question and continued to vigorously campaign against it (lol, talk about being narrow minded).
Fast forward to today. Quite recently I was the victim of a coordinated black ops on social media. My photo was plastered on multiple twitter accounts calling me a paid hack for standing up against the Fair Use Policy. And these weren’t just normal twitter accounts. They were all part of an organized network which is offered as a service by several “special ops” companies. Masked by “anonymity”, these accounts relentlessly attacked me personally, often times going below the belt.
And this is where I’m torn with the Cybercrime Law. Folks, here’s the sad reality: there are black ops social media companies. These are paid groups go after their victims like a pack of wolves. Usually those who are on the receiving end of their “special ops” are politicians or brands but it’s a different kinda of low when they start setting their sights on normal people with very legitimate consumer concerns and complaints.
Without a law to protect them, where do these people turn to? Do they just live with the pain and the hurt? Will they just be powerless and helpless?
Regardless what the Supreme Court says when they announce their ruling, one thing is for certain: victims of cyberbullying and cyber libel need protection. They need the means to be able to get justice. If not with the Cybercrime Law, then with another law that specifically addresses their concerns.
To end let me encourage you to watch this video of Atty. Chris Lao who spoke at the Rappler Social Good Summit about how Cyberbullying almost destroyed his life.