Network Neutrality

The mtrcb wants to ‘regulate’ the Internet

According to ABS-CBN, the Movie, Television Review and Classification Board announced that it plans to talk to the Department of Justice regarding sites that supposedly publish video of underage women.

First off, it is a bold move in that there should be protection for underage women. And there are laws like the anti-child pornography law. So it isn’t like there is no protection at all or to even suggest that the Philippines isn’t out stumping out this form of evil.

Second, it is one of those ridiculous and dangerous things— even taking into account protecting underage women. We have just gotten out of a really bad situation in Dubai— where the Internet fought to be kept open and free. And the Philippines signed off against U.N. regulation of the Internet.

Near as I can understand it, MTRCB is beyond its Authority. In fact, why skimpy women dance on noon time shows is a matter of much concern, if we are being moralist about it.

What’s dangerous here is government stepping up on censorship on the Internet. It never has ended well. Justifying it on moralist ground is a danger in and on itself. And that’s what they really are after here isn’t it? Justification for RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. The move of the MTRCB wishes to have some justification for law and the takedown clause in the cybercrime law.

The question here shouldn’t be a take down clause. It should be who is deciding what should be taken down and when. It can not be the cops or the prosecutor— in this case– the executive department of the government. It should be the court of law that should decide if someone has stepped out of bounce because that’s the equal protection we all enjoy.

What is to stop someone years down the road for using RA 10175 as justification for doing an Egypt-style crackdown on the Internet? Or a Chinese-style one? One of the biggest flaws of the cybercrime prevention act is that it doesn’t really fight cybercrime. Neither is it cognizant of what cyberwar could be.

@rom disagrees with me. He says, “I don’t think they can think at far ahead. LOL.”

@philippinebeat tweeted, “Here we go again. Afraid of the Internet and netizens?”

@ceso: wrote: “@philippinebeat i think it was just a knee-jerk reaction frm the complaint. good tho that people are thinking about internet freedom”

@gelolopez says, “@philippinebeat There are reasons why they are called MTRCB. Movie and TV.”

“@philippinebeat altho, drive vs. exploitation & trafficking of minors online is being strengthened under #MCPIF,” @ceso added.

@philippinebeat replied: “@ceso Likely. We need orgs that think something through carefully before they act. Clearly this goes beyond MTRCB’s mandate.”

@mobilemaui reminds us of another great idea: “BIR wants to tax online sellers.”

The answer really is the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. What this does is fix the flaws of the Cybercrime Prevention Act. It does it better by starting with protecting rights enshrined in the bill of rights. It stands for an open and free Internet by balancing those rights out with the need of government to protect us. It doesn’t think of the Internet as a medium, but a living breathing ecosystem. We are giving the government the right tools, the proper mindset to go after the real bad guys, and at the same time being cognizant that the Internet is an economic driver.

Disclosure: the Author helped draft the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom.

[Editor’s note: we updated this entry to reflect a few comments]

Crowdsourcing: The Story of the Drafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom

Update: The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom (MCPIF) has been refiled for the 16th Congress.
PHNetDems statement when Senator Santiago filed the MCPIF in the Senate as Senate Bill No. 53
Statement of PHNetDems when Representative Kimi Cojuangco filed the MCPIF in the House of Representatives as House Bill 1086.

SBN3327 Screencap

This is the story of how six ordinary, tech- and internet-savvy citizens, over three hundred online onlookers on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Docs, and a number of their politically-connected friends brought the dream of a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom to the august halls of the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, and found in Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago a champion for civil and political rights in cyberspace.

Read more

Santiago Files Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago
Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, principal sponsor of SBN 3327

(Update 14 Nov 2012: SBN 3327 official PDF from Senate official website embedded below.)

Constitutional rights shall not be diluted in the Information Age.

This is the guarantee sought to be galvanized by Senate Bill 3327, filed on November 12, 2012, by the eminent constitutionalist and international law expert Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago. In what is a first in Philippine legislative history, the provisions of the bill authored by Senator Santiago draw directly upon the suggestions of Filipino netizens solicited through online “crowdsourcing”. The proposed measure seeks to address not only the protection of  but also the establishment of the rights of Internet users in the Philippines. Also, guided by the expert knowledge of the diverse set of IT and legal specialists who advised on the bill, SBN 3327 seeks to establish a sensible, fact-oriented and balanced environment that defends Filipinos against against cybercrimes and cyberattacks.

Senate Bill 3327 is titled, appropriately enough, “An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity.” Also known as the MCPIF to the netizens whose views helped shape the Bill, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is anchored on:

a. Rights
The MCPIF protects the civil and political rights of Filipinos, recognizing and asserting our guaranteed constitutional rights in cyberspace. Economic rights and consumer rights, especially as affected by the use of the Internet and information and communications technology (ICT), are also promoted and upheld.

b. Governance
The MCPIF promotes ICT in governance, translating into an empowered citizenry, a more efficient and responsive government, and more effective use and distribution of resources.

c. Development
The MCPIF provides government agencies with the mandate and the means to harness ICT for national development, thus promoting Philippine economic growth and ensuring Filipinos remain competitive in the information age.

d. Security
The MCPIF prepares Philippine law enforcement agencies and the armed forces for the current and emerging security challenges of the information age. It equips law enforcement with the capability to prevent, detect, and respond to cybercrime. With bolstered national defense and intelligence capabilities made possible through the MCPIF, the Philippines will be able to protect its critical infrastructure, reducing its vulnerability to attacks by cyber-terrorists and rogue or enemy states.

SBN 3327 has been referred to the Committee on Science and Technology for deliberations. It is expected that in the same spirit that animated the crafting of the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, legislative deliberations will be enhanced by the active participation of the citizens online, and the other ICT stakeholders. The Internet has facilitated an unexpected next step in participatory democracy, and the forthcoming legislative process will harness that power.

SBN 3327 – An Act Establishing a Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom, Cybercrime Prevention and Law Enforcement, and Cyberdefense and National Cybersecurity

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(Photo credit: Senate official website,

(PDF credit: Senate official website,

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