Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cyber-libel: Stop blaming the E-Commerce Law!

This column piece has definitely agitated me. The columnist is referring to a recent ruling in the US about a libel case that favored the accused. In one way or another, he just stepped into accusing the E-Commerce Law for being inept in prosecuting cyber-criminals in the country.

Here is my thinking on the issue.

The Philippines E-Commerce Law or Republic Act 8792 did not change any law. However, it strengthened all existing laws by recognizing its electronic counterpart. Therefore, laws covering libel cases are now empowered to recognize its electronic counterparts. That is why you have cases where the likes of celebrity / actress Kris Aquino suing GMA 7 in the past and used e-mail printouts as her evidence. That case resulted to a settlement. If it proceeded and she lost, it will depend on how she lost and thereby which law is to blame. If it's the insufficiency of the case, being considered a libel, then laws covering libel should be the one amended.

If she loses based on evidence presentation, proving authenticity, originality, among others, then that is where the E-Commerce Law can be scrutinized.

With regards to cybercrime, it is not the E-Commerce Law that is weak, it is the implementation and allocation of funding. I'm always paranoid whenever I encounter instances where people can easily be comfortable in blaming a law rather than looking at its implementation. Our cybercrime enforcement is weak because government leaders are not yet fully aware and neither excited in allocating funding to it due to other priorities. Therefore, this is where we should unite and call on government to allocate resources to combat cybercrime.

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