MANILA, Philippines - Philippine government websites were targets of one of the biggest cyber attacks in the country's history early Wednesday morning, as the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 took effect.
Members of the Anonymous hacktivist group from various parts of the world launched distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on the government websites, making them inaccessible.
In an operation dubbed "#OpPhilippines," Anonymous disabled websites belonging to The Official Gazette, the Senate, and the National Bureau of Investigation.
The group also listed other targets, including a website belonging to Senator Tito Sotto, in a statement published online.
Their targets are:
Anonymous also released a video clip on YouTube to air their statement against the anti-cybercrime law that criminalizes libel online.
The new law authored by Senator Edgardo Angara and signed by President Benigno Aquino also allows warrantless monitoring of Internet and telecom users, as well as authorizes the Department of Justice to block any website without court review
"The Philippine Government has just passed a bill that effectively ends the freedom of expression in the Philippines," Anonymous said in its statement.
"The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines,and the language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber-technology and doesn't apply to everyone, but some part of the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet," it added.
"New technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. They can also provide us with a medium through which our political, public and even private views can have an immediate and direct impact on individuals, communities and even countries. It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people's freedom of expression," the hacktivist group said.
"We ask for a revision of the said bill for the betterment of the Filipino denizens," it added.
Government websites were also hacked in previous days by protesters opposing the anti-cybercrime law.