RFC: Some ideas on how to guarantee Internet Freedom, fight cybercrime better in the Philippines

So remember a few weeks back, there was this whole hoopla on Cybercrime bill, and why according to people like me, said it sucked, and that it doesn’t really do much of anything?

And throughout the discussion I thought there was a communications problem between people who knew technology, and lawmakers and the general public at large. Experts are hard pressed to translate the language for mere mortals. Lawmakers couldn’t make heads or tails about such a complex issue, much less the general public.

So I had this— for lack of better term— arrogant— idea that I could write down my own thoughts and ideas regarding Internet freedom, and cybercrime as well as cyberwarfare. It isn’t complete or perfect, but I just wanted to convey in as legalese language that I could possible approach (for a non-lawyer), to bridge the gap between parties, and to convey my ideas.

If you think this is worthwhile, I urge you to reach out to the Palace, and to Congress, and urge them to consider rewriting the laws that are on the pipeline for something more holistic, and more positive. I believe this is a more positive way of solving cyber crime, and cyber warfare, as well as granting real freedom and real rights for us all. Real Internet Freedom, and a real shot that our nation recognizes the Internet as an economic engine.

It is as close to a philosophy that I could come up with…. but please I reserve the right to change my mind on any of these, to add or detract as it moves forward. This isn’t perfect or complete at all… and I would like to ask you dear reader for thoughts and comments and it is my wish that some discussion could happen. Consider this the first draft.

Those under ( ) are… for lack of better term what I wanted to do, and if the wording never quite got to it, then that’s on me.

Lastly, I apologize if by throwing out this that it would seem arrogant, and filled with hubris. It is most certainly not my intent. I just want a better ideas to win over the existing constricting ones our nation seems hell-bent on driving towards.

Here are my thoughts on Internet Freedom:

Republic of the Philippines

House of Representatives / Philippine Senate
_______ Metro Manila ________ Congress

_________ Regular Session

Senate / House Bill No. _________

Introduced by


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

Section 1. Short Title.

This Act maybe cited as the “Internet Freedom Act of 2012”.

Section 2. Purposes.

The purpose of this Act is to grant the freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of press in cyberspace, to petition government for a redress of grievances on cyberspace, to promote competition, to facilitate trade, and to ensure competitive and non-discriminatory access to the Internet.

Section 3. Declaration of Policy.

The State recognizes the right of the people to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of press, and freedom of assembly on cyberspace, and to petition the government for redress of grievances on cyberspace, and as such, adopts policies to promote competition in cyberspace, to facilitate trade, to ensure competitive, and non-discriminatory access to the Internet by Filipinos.

It is the policy of the Republic of the Philippines:

1. To maintain the freedom to use for lawful purposes, Networks, Cyberspace, the Internet without unreasonable interference from, or discrimination, as has been the policy and history of the Internet and the basis of user expectation since its inception;

2. To ensure, to guarantee, and to nurture the Internet that it becomes a vital driving force in the Philippine economy;

3. To preserve and to promote the open and interconnected nature of networks that enable consumers to reach, and service providers, and network providers to offer, lawful content, applications and services of their choose, using their selection of devices, as long as such devices do not harm the network; and

4. To safeguard the open marketplace of ideas on the Internet by adopting and enforcing baseline protections to guard against unreasonable discriminatory favoritism for, or degradation of, content by service providers, and network providers based upon its source, ownership, or destination on the Internet.

5. To promote the Progress of Science, and the Arts, and to allow securing for a limited Time to their Creators, Authors, and Inventors: Rights to their respective Content, Creations, Discoveries, Inventions, and Writings and to provide for mechanism to share such content, creations, discoveries, inventions, and writings without infringing on the rights of Creators, Authors, and Inventors.

(this section was heavily lifted/Borrowed from US Congress HR 5353)

Section 4. Definition of Terms.

“Cyberspace” is the environment in which communication over networks occurs.

“Device” is any mechanical, electronic or computing equipment.

“Protocol” is a system of message formats that set rules for exchanging such messages between computing systems, networks and telecommunications.

“The Internet” is a global system of interconnected networks of networks that use the Internet protocol suite.

“The Internet protocol suite” is a set of communications protocols used in the Internet architecture.

“Network service” is any 2-way transmission service that connects to the Internet and transmits information in at least one direction, irrespective of whether such transmission is provided separately or as a component of another service.

(Should include http servers email, dhcp, time protocols, listening software, etc. etc. basically any daemon you run.)

“Data” is the quantity, characteristics, symbols and operations performed by computing systems, stored and transmitted through electronic signals, and recorded in computing systems.

“Service provider” is engaged in commerce that owns, controls, or resells any facility used to provide network service to the public by whatever technology, and without regard to whether provided for a fee, in exchange for an explicit benefit or for free.

(Telco/backbone dudes)

“User” is any person, household, government, corporation, community-owned, non-profit, or privately owned-organization that uses a Network service whether provided for a fee, in exchange for an explicit benefit or for free.

(Basically anybody.)

“Network provider” is a User that maintains, and provides infrastructure to connect to the Internet through a Service provider, and without regard to whether provided for a fee, in exchange for an explicit benefit, or for free.

(There should be a distinction between a telco— and a company or household that provides Internet for their employees/family member. As well as covering guests at hotels, and people visiting government offices.)

“Content” is any application, data, experiences, or information that provide value, or entertainment to a User.

(Did we get every sort of media available???)

“Platform service” is any application or service that provide the ability to author, create, prepare, produce, maintain, or publish applications, or content.

(Did we define properly what Twitter, Facebook, Cloud services, and platform as services???)

“Content provider” is any person, household, government, corporation, community-owned organization, non-profit, or privately-owned organization that author, create, prepare, produce, maintain, or publish content.

(Basically anyone who can create a tweet, or facebook status or take photos or any content imaginable.)

“Affiliate” is a person that directly or indirectly owns, controls or is owned, controlled by or is under the common ownership or control with another person; or: a person that has a contract or other arrangement with a content, network or service provider concerning access to, or distribution of, such content or such service.

“Cyber Weapons” are computer programs such as viruses and trojans or devices and equipment.

Section 5. Access to the Internet.

Every person within the Philippines, and all its territories has a right to, and shall be given access to the Internet, and this right to access shall never be abridged.

(There should be exceptions like, convicted felons maybe denied access to certain parts of the Internet.


Section 6. Discrimination by service, and network providers.

It shall be unlawful for any service provider or network provider:

1. To fail to provide its service, or network services on reasonable, and nondiscriminatory terms and conditions such that any person can offer or provide content, applications, or services to or over the network in a manner that is at least equal to the manner in which the provider or its affiliates offer content, applications, and services free of any surcharge on the basis of the content, application, or service.

(Anyone should have the ability right out of the box to run a web server that can be accessed by anybody else on the internet.)

2. To refuse to interconnect its facilities with the facilities of another provider of network services on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms or conditions;

3. To block, to impair, to discriminate against, or to interfere with the ability of any person to use a network service to access, to use, to send, to receive, or to offer lawful content, applications or services over the Internet; or

4. To impose an additional charge to avoid any conduct that is prohibited by this subscription;

5. To prohibit a user from attaching or using a device on the provider’s network that does not physically damage or materially degrade other users’ utilization of the network; or

6. To fail to clearly, and conspicuously disclose to users, in plain language, accurate information concerning any terms, conditions, or limitations on the network service.

If a service or network provider prioritizes or offers enhanced quality of service to data, or protocol of a particular type, it must prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data, or protocol of that type, regardless of origin or ownership of such data without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or enhanced quality of service.

Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a service or network provider from taking reasonable and nondiscriminatory measures:

7. To manage the functioning of its network on a systemwide basis, provided that any such management function does not result in discrimination between content, applications, or services offered by the provider and unaffiliated provider;

8.To give priority to emergency communications;

9. To prevent a violation of Law, or to comply with an order of a court to enforce such law;

10. To offer consumer protection services such as parental controls, provided that a user may refuse to disable such services;

11. To offer special promotional pricing or other marketing initiatives; or

12. To prioritize or offer enhanced quality of service to all data or protocol of a particular type regardless of the origin, or ownership of such data or protocol, without imposing a surcharge or other consideration for such prioritization or quality of service.

Section 7. Content.

Content Creators are given fifty (50) years of rights to their content.

Each Filipino User is given the right to copy, distribute, and transmit any content in the Philippines provided, Content is attributed, but it does not in any way suggest that Content Creators endorse the User or the User’s use of their work.

Content may be shared, and adapted and sharing is unlawful only under the following circumstances:
The sharer gains monetarily.

Content being shared is not available for digital or downloadable purchase on the Internet specifically for Philippine territory.

(For example, Transformers the movie is only available in iTunes and for Hulu subscribers in the US, then the argument goes: it isn’t available in the Philippines. Filipinos may freely get their content fix from anywhere and will not be liable to infringement.

Same goes for music.

But people who share such content— via bittorrent for example do not profit from it. Like the burn the disk for their friends. And they share.

Update: Below is a comment made by @franky regarding this section. So i’ll do some rewrite of it in due time. )

Section 8. Each person within Philippine territory is granted a right to privacy.

The right to freedom of speech extends to what Content a User may possess, and chooses to read, or consume.

(Right to P0rn.)

It is unlawful for a person within Philippine territory to be videoed, filmed, phototographed, or recorded, and such content in whole or partially be made available on the Internet without their consent, knowledge or coerced to give their consent under duress. And unlawful for such Content to be shared.

(Example: A woman is filmed having sex without her knowledge, consent or coerced to perform the sex act, then it violates her right. And that content is illegal.

If a person says, “No”, or implies “Do not take my photograph”, then it is illegal to do so like in cases of –paparazzi.)

Section 9. No Platform Service shall be treated as publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider or platform service.

(A site is not responsible for the content of a person leaving a comment on site, nor do services like Twitter and Facebook are liable for what their users publish)

Section 10. Obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or objectionable content.

Network Providers shall have right to restrict access to, or availability of material that it may consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or objectionable content whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

(A household or corporation may block porn sites for example.)

Neither Service Provider nor Government shall have the right to restrict access to, neither limit nor prevent the availability of material that it may consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or objectionable content whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

(Telcos are not allowed to filter content.)

Government may provide restricted access to, and limit and prevent the availability of material that it may consider to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or objectionable within its own network or facilities.

Harassing or objectionable content maybe removed or blocked only by Order of a Court of Law.

(Someone who receives a harassing Text or email or blog post may ask the courts to block such content only after due process.)

Neither Service Provider, Network Provider, nor Platform Service are liable for User violation of Law.

Section 11. The Right to Remove Limitations, and Raise Privilege Control on any device.

Each person within the Philippines, and its territories has the right to remove limitations imposed by manufacturers on a device that they have legally acquired, or to raise their privilege control on such device.

Device manufacturers reserve the right to void warranty on such device when such limitation, or privilege control are removed or altered without their consent.

Section 12. The President is empowered to establish a National Cyber Command under the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the purpose:

1. To administer, protect, preserve, and defend Philippine cyberspace assets, such as, but not limited to government civilian and military networks, and websites;

2. To protect, preserve and defend Philippine Internet infrastructure;

3. To protect Philippine government communications, and information systems through information security and cryptoanalysis and cryptography;

4. To create synergy, and synchronized war-fighting on Information Security environment, including but not limited to covert action;

5. To pull, unify existing cyberspace resources, and centralize Command of Cyberspace Operations;

6. To strengthen the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Philippine government cyberspace capabilities;

7. To bolster, and spearhead the Philippines’ cyber expertise, electronic warfare capabilities;

8. To develop, deploy, and execute a national cyber defense and warfare doctrine including, counter-intelligence, but not limited to dissemination of information harmful to the spiritual, moral and cultural spheres of other entities, states, people and organization opposing the Philippines, or violating international law;

9. To analyze, create, develop, manage, research, study, and utilize but not limited to cyber weapons, cryptography, crytoanalysis tools, technical collection disciplines, and equipment for purposes not limited to cyber command;

10. To coordinates the analysis of aerial surveillance, and satellite imagery;

11. To develop, deploy and provide for Signals Intelligence as well as provide cryptologic intelligence, cryptanalysis, and traffic analysis, but such power shall be limited to the collection, and analysis of foreign communications, and foreign signals intelligence;

12. To assist transnational, and law enforcement organizations in cyber defense and warfare, anti-terrorism activities;

13. To research information on international crime for policymakers, and law enforcement communities as well as provide intelligence support related to national and non-national threats, including the identification, monitoring, and analysis of foreign intelligence entities both national and non-national against Philippine interests;

14. To assess perceived existing and emerging threats to the Philippines national security, and provide military planners, policymakers, and law enforcement with analysis, warning and crisis support;

The Chief of Cyber Operations shall be an active duty, commissioned officer, and the principal assistant to the President of the Philippines in all matters relating to Cyber Defense and Cyber Warfare, and has authority, direction and control over National Cyber Command.

Section 13. The President is empowered to establish a Philippine Cyber Investigation Bureau under the National Bureau of Investigation:

1. To investigate all high technology crimes, and addressing cyber security threats within the Philippines and its territories;

2. To create synergy, and synchronized investigations on Information Security environment;

3. To develop, deploy, and execute a national anti-cybercrime doctrine;

4. To coordinate with other law enforcement agencies;

5. To use cyber weapons and tools in addressing crime;

6. To assist transnational, and law enforcement organizations in investigating cybercrimes, and in apprehending cybercriminals as well as, anti-terrorism activities;

7. To research information on cybercrime for policymakers, and law enforcement communities;

8. To develop, deploy and provide for Signals Intelligence as well as provide cryptologic intelligence, cryptanalysis, and traffic analysis, but such power shall be limited to, and only by order of a Court of Law, the collection, and analysis of domestic communications, and domestic signals intelligence;

The Director of Cyber Investigation shall be the principal assistant to the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation in all matters relating to Cybercrimes, and has authority, direction and control over The Philippine Cyber Investigation Bureau.

@FrancisAcero gives his comments:

Cocoy Dayao

Cocoy is the Chief Technology Officer of Lab Rats Technica, a Digital Consulting company that specialises in DevOps, iOS, and Web Apps, E-Commerce sites, Cybersecurity and Social Media consulting. He is a technology enthusiast, political junkie and social observer who enjoys a good cup of coffee, comic books, and tweets as @cocoy on twitter.

Cocoy is also the Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of the ProPinoy Project.

Cocoy considers himself to be Liberal.

  • GabbyD

    what about cyber prostitution? 

    • cocoy

      See section 10 and 13. 

      • GabbyD

        oo nga. walang penalty for content providers providing services which, had they been on a streetcorner, or at home, illegal?

        prostitution is illegal, right?

        • cocoy

          In the Philippines, prostitution is illegal, yes. 

          • Anonymous

            Some  United Declarations of Human Rights document would put prostitution as a job,  and the United Nations would want precision on definition of “illegal” ( USA’s Hillary Clinton very specific — trafficking, slavery: illegal ).  A 22-year-old selling his or her body on weekends to get tuition money for a law degree,  per United Nations,  should NOT be automatically be felony-offense.  A forty-four yr old fforcing or tricking her 13-yr old child (or niece or nephew) into pay-for-sex — criminal — but the same forty-four yr old using his/her body to raise money for medicine for an ailing relative (or even just to raise money for gasoline for his/her Porsche or Expedition) should not automatically be labeled as a criminal.

            And YES… Pilipinas is one of the signers of the United Nations Declaration  which had put legality-dominus-vobiscum on prostitution-as-a-job.

        • cocoy

          Section 10, and 13 already empower law enforcement to go after cyberspace prostitution, which sometimes is also part of transnational crimes.  No need to define prostitution because prostitution is already illegal. 

        • GabbyD

          i guess what i’m saying is its not clear. 

          the word cybercrime appears in sec 13, but nowhere is it defined. i guess cybercrrime means crime occuring in cyberspace –again, not clear.

          but then, not all crimes can occur in cyberspace (ie. murder). 

          its probably more prudent to define cybercrimes, or refer to specific crimes and existing law where the crime is referenced (e.g. penal code)