Science

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, http://www.senate.gov.ph/)

(PDF credit: Senate official website, http://www.senate.gov.ph/)

First Man cured from HIV, is the End of AIDS near?

American Timothy Ray Brown both had leukemia and Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 2007, Brown received a bone marrow transplant from a man, immune to HIV. Then his HIV went away. This stunned scientists. He became known as “The Berlin Man”, and scientists hope he becomes an icon for the end of AIDS.

Scientists reveal that 1 percent of caucasians are immune to HIV. According to Wired, HIV immunity comes from “a pair of mutated genes” in each chromosome that prevent AIDS breaking into a cell.

HIV is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV was discovered 30 years ago. Is it too early to say that HIV is no longer a “death sentence”? In the span of 30 years, tests have been developed that help in early HIV detection. Antiretroviral AIDS drugs are in the market to keep the virus in check for many years. HIV-positive humans can live relatively normal, and full lives.

Now science has set on the target to kill HIV.

The cost for caring for HIV Patients in developing countries is estimated to be at US$13 billion per year.

Will the cure that work for Brown, work for all HIV patients?

That’s that thing, it does not. Exact donors would have to be found for all the victims. Those immune are just a tiny portion of Europeans. Not to mention, the procedure is complex, expensive, and risky.

While the Brown procedure might not work for other HIV patients, it does offer scientist hope that there is a cure for HIV told Reuters, “It’s clearly unrealistic to think that this medically heavy, extremely costly, barely reproducible approach could be replicated and scaled-up … but from a scientist’s point of view, it has shown at least that a cure is possible”.

Medial epidemiologist and head of International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) Seth Berkley on the one hand told Reuters this, “From a science point of view, it’s a fabulous thing to do. It’s a great target and a lot of science will be learned. But from a public health point of view, the primary thing you need to do is stop the flow of new infections,” says Berkley. “We need a prevention revolution. That is absolutely critical.”

While there is hope for a cure, it may not be found for awhile. Prevention is still on top of the agenda it would seem.

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