Hackers protest anti-cybercrime law, deface government websites.
In a message posted on the defaced websites, the hackers said the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 signed by President Benigno Aquino III last September 12 “is the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines.”
They said the law “effectively ends the Freedom of Expression” in the country.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 included in its provisions online libel, aside from other offenses such as cybersex, child pornography, cyber squatting and identity theft, spamming or unsolicited commercial communication, computer-related forgery, illegal access to a computer system and/or illegal interception of data, data interference including intentional alteration or damaging of data; system interference including damaging or altering computer data or programs as well as the use of viruses, the misuse of devices; and the use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution or making available without right of malware, passwords or codes.
“The language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber-technology and doesn’t apply to everyone, but some part of the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet,” said the group.
“New technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. They can also provide us with a medium through which our political, public and even private views can have an immediate and direct impact on individuals, communities and even countries. It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people’s freedom of expression,” it added.
The hacking incidents started around 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, with the website of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) defaced with those messages posted. The title of the page says: “Anonymous Philippines: defaced by #pR.is0n3r.”
The other websites defaced by the group were those of the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team, Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Region III, Smokefree Philippines of the Department of Health, and Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis.
Only the BSP website was restored as of this posting Thursday.
Netizens reacted to the hacking incidents, with some of them praising “Anonymous Philippines” for the “job well done.”
Winston Roxas on Twitter said his faith in his countrymen was restored because of the incident.
“Go Anonymous Philippines!!! Hahaha!! Para saan pa kasi ang FOI kung may Anti-Cybercrime law. I mean, it should be revised.. :))” tweeted Jag Chan.
Another Twitter user, Kate Yamzon, posted: “Lupit! BSP, MWSS websites hacked as protest vs Cybercrime Prevention Law! What’s Next?
The hackers describe themselves in these words: “We are Anonymous, We are legion, We don’t forgive, We don’t forget, United as one, Divided by zero, Expect us.”
They used the song “Freedom” of the band Rage Against the Machine as background music.
Anonymous Philippines, in its message, called for a revision of the law “for the betterment of the Filipino denizens.”
“Protect our Right to Freedom of Expression!” it stressed.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act was the second Information Communication Technology-related bill that the Aquino administration signed this year.
The first ICT-related measure that was signed into law by Aquino was the Data Privacy Act, which has provisions restricting access to information.
As of Thursday, three petitions have so far been filed before the Supreme Court against the anti-cybercrime law.
The groups opposing the law questioned its constitutionality, saying it runs counter to a myriad of rights guaranteed under the Constitution, including freedom of expression, due process, equal protection and privacy of communications. (Sunnex)