Hackers exercising right, DOST official says

by Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2012 08:29 PM | Updated as of Oct 03 2012 04:30 AM

MANILA, Philippines - On the third day of simultaneous defacements on various government websites, Undersecretary Louis Casambre of the DOST Information and Communications Office (ICTO) is still unfazed, saying he still believes that hackers are exercising a legitimate right to express a legitimate view.

He said he will continue to let them do it.

"Of course, nakakahiya, when you see government websites vandalized like that. But I see it more as a civil disturbance than a crime," Casambre saud. "We'd rather focus on the actual cyber criminals, and it's a fact, they are out there."

Once the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 takes effect Wednesday, Casambre will be chairman of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC), a new group mandated to oversee the implementation and policies surrounding the law.

When asked if his seeming laxity over the hackers group "Anonymous Philippines" could be an indication that government is less than capable of apprehending them, Casambre said, "It depends in the level of skill of the hacker, if they are easy or difficult to trace. At the moment, it will be difficult. But that is the advantage of this law."

Casambre also said fortifying security of each and every government system is more cost and time-efficient, rather than engaging hackers in a chase.

When informed that the hackers are planning larger-scale attacks, this time seeking help from hackers overseas, Casambre tells the hackers "Sana naman they respect the process. On the 9th, we will be meeting with the various stakeholders in order to craft Implementing Rules and Regulations that are amenable to all."

The said forum will include the DOJ, PNP, NBI, and members of the media.

"Just don't disrupt the operations of agencies where people get their services online," said Casambre, citing as examples the websites of Philhealth, Pagasa, NDRRMC, and other websites where realtime information online is crucial to public service.

"They are still doing no harm, at least in my opinion. But if they deprive the public of government service, that is a different thing," he added.