[Mirror] Banico, Jose Marie Gerardo

Summer 2012


Foreign hackers attack PH sites: Are they liable?

First of all, I am a law student. I am not here to post legal advice nor become a source legal wisdom. I need this blog for my subject Technology and the Law. Thank you.

As we all know, there have been known attacks on the Philippine websites these past few weeks. Several of Philippine websites “noticed a significant spike in traffic with malicious URL requests from forged user-agents being channeled to the Official Gazette website, PCDSPO and to the Presidential Museum and Library website” according to Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda. Also, a news article said, “information gathered through our data analysis indicated that the attack originated from IP addresses assigned to Chinese networks”. The dispute between China and the Philippines has been escalating and the events of the “hack attacks” have not been very helpful.

The real questions of the issue are: Are these foreign hackers liable? If not, how do we make them liable?

As of now, there are no laws applying to foreign hackers, thus they are not liable for these kinds of incidents. The problem also is that according to the case of Rustan Ang VS Court of Appeals, “the Rules on Electronic Evidence apply only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings, and administrative proceedings”. This means evidence obtained through the criminal acts of these foreign hackers cannot be used against them in our courts.

Hacking is defined in Section 33 of the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000 as the “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”. We have a clear-cut definition of what hacking or cracking is, the problem is the application of this definition to not only citizens and domiciles of the Philippines but also to other people outside the shores of the Philippines.

There were similar incidents that happened to Canada last January of 2011 that “also gave foreign hackers access to highly classified federal information and also forced the Finance Department and Treasury Board”. The hacking national websites has become a dangerous threat to national security. The country must revise the Rules on electronic evidence and include criminal proceedings. In addition to this, Congress must pass an anti-cyber crime law and an implementing body that would serve as a shield and sword against these foreign hackers. Hopefully, the Philippines, together with other countries will create agreements and conventions in answering the problems of hacking and other cyber crimes. God bless us all.


References

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