The dispute over Panatag Island otherwise known as Scarborough Shoal has been the source of territorial dispute between the Philippines and China. Both countries claim that the said island is part of their respective territory. The US, acting as the big brother of Philippines, declared its possible support in case the conflict arises. Despite the bullying China has done (stand-off of battleships), the Philippines remains to act diplomatically. But where did it lead to? Chinese hackers ended up in defacing some of the Philippine’s web sites and he Filipinos ended up retaliating against Chinese web sites as well. The issue now arises whether these acts can be considered in violation of existing laws, if they are, can we prosecute these acts?
In answering these questions, we should first determine what acts our laws can penalize resulting from such acts. RA 8792, otherwise known as the Electric Commerce Act of 2000, provides for the recognition and admissibility of electronic data messages, documents and signatures. The salient features of this law are
- Provides for the admissibility of electronic documents in court cases
- Penalizes online crime in the country, such as hacking, introduction of viruses and copyright violations of at least Php100,000 and maximum commensurate to the damage incurred, and imprisonment of six months to three years
- Promotes e-commerce in the country, particularly in business transactions
This law provides for acts that can be penalized by the courts, inter alia,
XXX Section 33. Penalties. – 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; XXX
Clearly from what is stated, the acts of the Chinese and Filipino hackers are in violation the said law. The other issue arises whether or not can we prosecute acts of hacking outside the country? Looking at the territoriality issue on the applications of laws, there seems to be a limitation on the enforcement of our laws except for what is provided for by Article Two of the Revised Penal Code. RA 8792 is silent whether or not its application involves violation of hacking done outside the country to an entity in the Philippines. However, the Budapest Convention held on November 2011, aims to:
- harmonizing the domestic criminal substantive law elements of offences and connected provisions in the area of cyber-crime
- providing for domestic criminal procedural law powers necessary for the investigation and prosecution of such offences as well as other offences committed by means of a computer system or evidence in relation to which is in electronic form
- Setting up a fast and effective regime of international co-operation.
The following offences are defined by the Convention: illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, and system interference, misuse of devices, computer-related forgery, computer-related fraud, offences related to child pornography and offences related to copyright and neighboring rights.
It also sets out such procedural law issues as expedited preservation of stored data, expedited preservation and partial disclosure of traffic data, production order, search and seizure of computer data, real-time collection of traffic data, and interception of content data. In addition, the Convention contains a provision on a specific type of transborder access to stored computer data which does not require mutual assistance (with consent or where publicly available) and provides for the setting up of a 24/7 network for ensuring speedy assistance among the Signatory Parties. Both the Philippines and China are signatories and members of such a convention. Maybe, through a more extensive enforcement of treaties and laws among the countries, conflicts will be dealt with objectively rather than subjectively. Now, can the Philippines/ China prosecute? The convention however provides only for speedy assistance among its signatories. With the conflict of between our countries, assistance is far fetched. Only diplomatic resolutions can solve this problem.
Social media has been a source of various information that can either build or destroy someone’s reputation. Facebook, Friendster, Twitter are some of social media networks that are available today. Its purpose is to established links among and between friends as well as people who want to create new links to someone. Information presented in these websites is available to the public. The issue arises whether or not this information can be used to accept or reject an applicant? The answer to this depends mainly on what type of position an applicant is entering for. If an applicant is applying for a not so relevant position, information from social media sites are not and should not be used to evaluate a person’s qualification. It does not have with it the relevance and the reliability that a company has to have in order to determine whether or not a person can fully perform his/her duty once employed on the company. Each applicant must be examined objectively based on the qualification and achievement he/she has done. However, a person applying for a managerial position or any position that can have a direct impact in the company must be evaluated using every possible source of information. Here now comes the possibility of using social networking sites to objectively and subjectively evaluate a person if he/she can fill the position. In business, it is important to understand how the public sees a company as a whole, its goodwill and other information that may or may not recorded in the Financial Statements but in all is very essential. Positions from General Manager up to the CEO, COO, and CFO up to the President represent the company as a whole. Marketing people are likewise included as they present the face of the company. Hence, in order to protect the public from any scrupulous evaluation of the public or clandestine acts of competitors, applicants for these positions must be evaluated very well. Not on the basis of Curriculum Vitae only, but activities in the social networking sites as well. Time and circumstance alone can present the possibility of a future disaster if key positions of the company are occupied by people not of good standing in the social media sites.
Can we use social media sites to determine the best applicant?
Employers can use every information that are relevant and most of all reliable in evaluating an applicant. Information gathered must be verifiable as well. Evaluating and accepting an applicant both of an art and a science, it is not a structured process limited only simply to accept and reject an employee but the position that will impact the company. The people are the best resource a business enterprise will have and it carries with it the future and success of the company. The moods and psychology of a person can be examined by how he deals and express himself. An applicant’s way of thinking can be evaluated in his social media links. This evaluation must be secondary to the usual sources of information such as school records, accomplishments and interviews.