10.12.2012

The Cyber Crime Law Pandemonium

Credits 123 Real Free Stock Photos
The cyber crime law indeed megamorphed a scare on the Net. Filipino netizens all of sudden stopped clicking, liking, sharing, and tweeting.

I'm not against the cyber crime law but it sure froze my mouse from clicking it. Probably that's the reason why many groups and individuals are shouting out their disapproval. The freedom of expression suddenly went six feet under.

I agree, though, that cyber bullying, whether you call that libel or otherwise, should be a crime that is punishable by law. I don't care if the sentence is 1 year, 2 years, or 10 years of imprisonment. The punishment should scare the hell out of the bully so that they would behave like good netizens. After all, the majority good netizens do not want them around on the Net. These bullies and "pasaway" on the Net are incorrigible, low-self-esteemed pain in the ash.

What scares me, and perhaps, other concerned citizens as well, is that what if a politician or a government official was doing something under his nose with blood money under the table? Can you not expose to the public his anomalous activity? If the government sided with this corrupt official in one hammer of a gavel, who else can you turn to? Doesn't it look like the cyber crime law was written to protect the lawmakers themselves from being criticized or exposed?

Let's example a scenario. I want to make this clear. What follows is only an example.



A writer wrote an article to expose a politician who used his pork barrel to purchase a beach resort. A concerned netizen, who is connected to thousands of netizens, stumbled upon his article and shared this to the social media grid. His thousand connections took the time to read the article, tweeted it, liked it, and shared it. The article turned viral on the Net that TV networks broadcast the digital epidemia on news programs. Consequently, it caught the politician's attention.

The politician denied what was written about him. Another higher-authority politician backed him up and witnessed in favor of him even if they both knew that the article was true and factual. To cut the story short, the writer was brought to court together with the thousands of netizens who shared the article, the web host provider and site owners included.

If you are going to ask the honorable blindfolded justice, who's side are you in: the lawmaker-lawbreaker politician or the concerned citizens?

There is a variety of reasons why netizens like, tweet, or share a post or an article.

  1. They are a fan of the author. 
  2. They like the content of the article. 
  3. They like how the article was written. 
  4. They share the same advocacy with the author. 
  5. They quote part of the story and give due credit to the site and author.
  6. Technically, they provide a back link to make a reference to an item that they did not author.
  7. They like or abhor the politician's activity. 
Can the cyber crime law distinguish these reasons? Is it just to be punished for liking an article due to how it was creatively written?

This like button, especially the like - unlike button, seen in YouTube, is tricky. For example, if the video exposes an anomalous activity, which are you liking or un-liking: the video itself or the anomalous activity? A newbie or low-grade techie can get confused on how to use the button.

I wonder if the lawmakers are regular social media users. I think they have to understand how it works digitally in the social media cloud.

I hope there's nothing libelous about what I wrote. In the meantime, to keep you out of trouble "think before you click" (credits GMA multimedia news campaign), don't name names, limit your opinions to positive criticisms, and avoid arguments.

If you were bullied one time or fell victim to an identity theft, you'd be thankful there is cyber crime law. On the contrary, if you fell victim behind bars for sharing a good advocacy like the "anti-epal campaign", the cyber crime law becomes your nightmare on elm street. With that alone, you know that there's a loophole somewhere in the law.

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