Computer Crime Research Center


Philippines cybercrime bill to cover cell phones

Date: January 05, 2005
Source: itWorldCanada
By: Lawrence Casiraya

The latest draft version of a cybercrime bill that will be filed to The Philippines' Congress next year will cover not only computers and computer networks but mobile devices as well.

The proposed bill, entitled the "Cybercrime Prevention Act," is now on its tenth revision after undergoing public hearings during the previous Congress. The bill, however, failed to make the public hearings stage at the Senate.

The bill will be filed again before the House of Representatives’ committee on information and communication technology next year.

Proponents of the bill, some of whom are security experts from the private sector, are confident that the bill will gain more ground this time around following the recent creation on an ICT committee in the lower house.

Under the House ICT committee are six subcommittees which focus on different fields of ICT, including IT security.

The latest version of the cybercrime bill has additional provisions, such as anti-spam measures, and extends its coverage down to "communication devices" such as mobile phones.

"We have refined existing provisions in the bill to address wireless devices," said Albert Dela Cruz, co-chair of the previous subcommittee on information security of the Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (ITECC), the forerunner of today’s Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), which drafted the bill since around two years ago.

The anti-spam measures also cover SMS or text messaging for mobile phones. "There are provisions there that qualify what is spam and what is not," Dela Cruz said, noting that the draft bill covers wireless operators as well.

Another added provision concerns "corporate liability" and proposed that a company can be held liable for cybercrimes like hacking or virus attacks which make use of its computer network.

"A CEO, for example, can be held liable if he knowingly participates or if the commission of the crime occurs due to his lack of supervision," Claro Parlade, the lawyer co-chair of the ITECC subcommittee on security, noted during a CIO forum conducted by Microsoft Philippines.

The bill proposes to create a Joint Cybercrime Investigation Unit (JCIU), which will include representatives from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Center for Transnational Crime (PCTC) and Crimes Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

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