Arellano, Zoraida

Summer 2012

  • Responding to the Defacement by Foreign Nationals: New Cybercrime Law
  • “Using Social Media and Internet Tools as Essential Means for the Selection of Employees”

Responding to the Defacement by Foreign Nationals: New Cybercrime Law

As the dispute between Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal remains, a cyber war started when alleged Chinese hackers defaced the website of the University of the Philippines (UP) which was followed by defacement of the website of Department of Budget and Management (DBM). Amidst the result of these defacement which the origin of hackers were determined by IP (Internet Protocol) addresses assigned to their networks, is a noteworthy issue “Whether or not foreign nationals can be held liable for such cyber hacking in the Philippines?”

Section 33 of the Electronic Commerce Act (R.A. 8792) provides

The following Acts, shall be penalized by fine and/or imprisonment, as follows:

(a) Hacking or crackling with refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system/server or information and communication system; or any access in order to corrupt, alter, steal, or destroy using a computer or other similar information and communication devices, without the knowledge and consent of the owner of the computer or information and communications system, including the introduction of computer viruses and the like, resulting in the corruption, destruction, alteration, theft or loss of electronic data messages or electronic documents shall be punished by a minimum fine of One Hundred Thousand pesos (P 100,000.00) and a maximum commensurate to the damage incurred and a mandatory imprisonment of six (6) months to three (3) years;

x x x

Aforementioned provision can be a basis for creating a new cybercrime law that specifically deals with cyber hacking by foreign nationals like the recent defacement allegedly made by Chinese because currently the issue on jurisdiction and/ or sphere of application of Electronic Commerce Act is not apparent as to whether or not this can be applied to foreign nationals. I consider our existing laws not sufficient bases in order for foreign nationals to be held liable for any defacement. The focal point that should be considered in making a new law is the jurisdiction of our competent courts over the foreign nationals when cybercrime or e-crime like hacking is committed. Personally, our legislators might likewise consider the present cybercrime laws, implemented by other countries particularly that pertains to “hacking by foreign nationals”, as reference in constructing a new law as a solution for the current issue at hand and in an anticipation for possible repeated hacking by foreigners that may be similar to the latest defacement made against UP and DBM.

“Using Social Media and Internet Tools as Essential Means for the Selection of Employees”

Social networking through the use of internet tools and social media such as Facebook, Twitter and personal website like blog are virtual equivalent of communicating with people wherein personal information, commentaries and other internet behaviour are made available to anyone who visits the website. Company can use social networks to check out applicants like obtaining insight about job candidates because it is easy to acquire data specially when the information can be viewed by public or was not customized to limit the access on the information posted.

Legal and Moral Consideration

As social media sites continue to be recognized as an essential business networking tool it is crucial to consider the legal aspect and moral facet of conducting such inquiries by the company for the determination of prospective employees.

The legal implication to the company or institution that uses social media for hiring purposes is the absence of law that gives them the right to do inquiries in the social media profiles and internet activities which can be a potential quandary when applicants are disqualified by mere result of social internet behaviour, which may further give rise to the issue on discrimination and question on whether or not the social media profile was erroneously created however, no apparent answer on how to absolutely prevent employers or to monitor them in conducting such search because social media websites are always available. Consequently, it is a moral responsibility of the employer to consider facts which are “only job-relevant” in determining potential employees.

Personally, online social media and internet tools are fast and effective source when use appropriately. With such vast data made accessible in social media sites, employers can utilize these resources in the initial stage of selecting applicants which are essential means to screen job candidates that would save time and funds of the company by opting to consider qualified applicants who are evaluated based on the “job-relevant information” made available in the social media accounts and internet search tools.

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