Pinoy netizens welcome Miriam's online rights bill


Posted at Jul 04 2013 12:46 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2013 08:51 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Filipinos online on Wednesday threw their support behind Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF).
Democracy.Net.Ph, a network of Filipino bloggers and ICT experts who crowdsourced the bill, said Santiago "wins the Internet," based on reactions from Filipinos online. 
"Senate Bill No. 53 was greeted with a flurry of likes, retweets, and shares on social networking sites," the group said in a statement. 
"This overwhelmingly positive response to the filing of the MCPIF is undeniable proof that there is a clamor among Filipinos for progressive legislation on Philippine cyberspace and the information and communications technology (ICT) sector," it added. 
"We strongly urge our legislators from both houses of the 16th Congress to heed this call and enact a law that will safeguard our civil and political rights online and harness the power of ICT for governance, development, and security," the group said.
The MCPIF is the first bill that Santiago filed in the new 16th Congress.
"I consider the RH Bill as the biggest triumph of the 15th Congress," she said in a press statement Wednesday. "Let’s do the same for the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom this new Congress.”
Cybercrime Prevention Act repeal
If passed, Santiago's bill will repeal the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act, or Republic Act No. 10175.
“R.A. 10175 confines the Philippines to 20th century capabilities in this 21st century information society. Clearly, laws that have an impact on cyberspace must address the realities of the present and the challenges of the future,” she said.
Santiago said her bill will protect the rights and freedoms of Filipinos in cyberspace, while defining and penalizing cybercrimes.
“While it is important to crackdown on criminal activities on the internet, protecting constitutional rights like free expression, privacy, and due process should hold a higher place in crafting laws,” she said.
Santiago said that the MCPIF upholds the right to free speech of Filipinos in cyberspace, unlike the much-criticized Cybercrime Prevention Act.
“The MCPIF treats libel as a civil liability rather than a criminal act. It is not overbroad or vague in its provisions on libel, unlike the cybercrime law,” she said.
Other sections of the MCPIF promote open government and transparency, as well as protect the rights of women and children online.
If passed into law, the MCPIF will be the first law to be created through “crowdsourcing.” Crowdsourcing is an online process of getting work done by tapping people on the Internet who volunteer their talent and skills.
Santiago said of concerned netizens composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates approached her office with a draft of the MCPIF. 
The group formulated the MCPIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter.
“I call on all our young people to voice their support for this bill through social media. You are our new opinion-leaders. After the RH Bill, we saw how powerful social media can be in advancing our causes,” Santiago said.

 The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom v 2.0 Filed as SBN 53