[Mirror] Lasac, Margarette

Summer 2012


The issue on the Chinese hackers defacing government websites of the Philippines vis a vis merely projected the concept of hacktivism. One may ask, what is hacktivism? According to an article from Wikipedia, hacktivism is where one would use a computer and computer networks as means for protest just like your typical picket signs only that it is done through the world wide web and where it’s jurisdiction is uncertain which brings us to our issue on how can we make foreign citizens liable in defacing websites coming from the Philippines and whether or not can we make them liable.

Before I further go on to the very meat of this issue, let me first discuss the basic principle of hacking under the Philippine law.

Section 33a of R.A. 8792 or better known as E-Commerce law defines hacking as an 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. The provision also states that it 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. Pertaining to the case of Chinese hackers defacing government websites of the Philippines, these hackers have clearly acquired the requisites of the provisions of Sec. 33a of R.A. 8792 but the question here is how and can we really make them liable under the jurisdiction of the Philippine law?

Now let’s go back to the concept of hacktivism. People describing themselves as “hacktivists” have then taken to defacing websites for political reasons such as stated in the example above, where the Philippines opposed the ideologies of the Chinese claiming that they own Scarborough Shoal. Hacking is assumed to have a definition of illegally breaking into ones computer or network whereas hacktivism is the use of legal and/or illegal digital tools in it’s pursuit of political ends. Although we can see that these attacks are an attack on free speech but what they don’t realize that these attacks of theirs also have unintended consequences that may lead to serious damages such as cyberwar and the like and depending on who’s in term, hacktivism can be a politically constructive form of civil disobedience thus may lead to an attempt to precipitate crisis situations online.

I really don’t know on how to react on how our government reacted upon the situation between the hacking situation of the Philippines and China. Raul Hernandez, assistant secretary and spokesman of the Department of Foreign Affairs stated on an interview : “Cyber attacks are nothing new. Our Government has already taken these things into consideration and is doing all it can to protect our computer systems so as to prevent any disruption in our day-to-day operations.”

Yes, he has a point and denouncing these cyber attacks will only be counter productive and will only cause more tension between the two countries. It is also pleasant to hear that the government is doing all it can to protect the computer systems of the country so as to prevent these kinds of situations but I still think that these offenders should be held liable and punished in accordance to the law because things that start out this small could end up in a serious damage considering of the said consequences of hacktivism may bring.

Jurisdiction is question in this situation. In reality, the recourse is with or where the web host is located or with them directly. Defacing in particular depends on the law of the country. Let’s say here in our own country, although we have these laws on the Internet, it is somewhat not enough to cover everything in terms of protection of the internet law. Some things are still lacking and well, I’m not as surprised on why the government seem to be very lax about issues in the cyber world.The country should be fully equipped with sufficient laws to protect the websites of the Philippines from these unknown visitors. Although, R.A. 8792 may be used against these foreign hackers, it is still believed to insufficient because of again jurisdiction issues.

To finally conclude my thoughts on the issue, I believe that the government should pay attention even to the smallest violations such as simply hacking by even Filipinos from one another so as to avoid propagating further and cause irreparable damages to the Philippine Internet Industry as a whole and to further strengthen the provisions of laws on the cyber world in collaboration with other countries. Let all citizens whether foreign or not be aware that one day the hand of law will be able to reach them.

I did not submit my Facebook account as my resume!

Social Networking is the act of interacting and networking with others in a social online environment via the use of a website as defined by Hudson Horizons. It has been very influential to in our society today. One of the most influential social networking sites is Facebook where most people practically display anything about their personal lives. More often than not, people would actually get access to one’s private life even if it doesn’t concern their business anymore even one’s employment could be affected by your social networking behavior.

Let’s go deep with employment, privacy, the Internet and the law.

Can having a blog, a personal web site, or an account on a social networking site impact your job search, for better or for worse? Take this scenario for instance where a job seeker’s facebook mentions that she loves to party all night, drinks to excess on a regular basis, and pictures of her being in a party were posted on their internet. Should employers use this as information for her application to the job she is applying for?

As far as where I stand, I believe not. The information found on the Internet through social networking sites should not be the basis of employers in accepting an applicant. Jobs require applicants who are qualified to that position through her credentials from her previous work and educational attainment and certainly not with her behavior in social networks.

The private lives of employees do not concern the business of their employers because our Constitution states that every person can enjoy their right against intrusion or in layman’s term that every person has a right to privacy.

SECTION 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.

Under article 3 of our Constitution, the provision above states that every person has a right to privacy therefore companies can not compel their employees to be an entity in their personal accounts. The employees can preserve their right to keep their social networking sites to be in private. The Constitution prohibits us from intruding to one’s privacy and thus protects every person who enjoys this right.

Employees who are being compelled by this kind of company policy may also enforce the writ of habeas data. This rule tells us that it can be used as remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security is violated or threatened by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee, or of a private individual or entity engaged in the gathering, collecting or storing of data or information regarding the person, family, home and correspondence of the aggrieved party.

There maybe instances where in a person has something against that applicant and post false statements about that applicant. The technology today is so advanced that photos and videos may be manipulated and can be used against the other where in this case is the applicant. If employers however use this as information for basis in the applicant’s application then there would be complications because the posted content did not come from the applicant and are merely libelous.

Employers should also keep in mind that a resume’s purpose is to actually show the applicant’s credentials regarding the qualifications of the job that she is applying for. Using her social networking behavior as information for her application would intrude to her privacy and thus be violative of the provisions on privacy in our Constitution.

To sum it all up, employers do retain the right to monitor their employees, that exercise must only be performed in good faith and where there is a reasonable belief that an offence is being committed.

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