[Mirror] Lim, Gretchel

Summer 2012

Assignment 1

Prevalent news is about the dispute of the Philippines and China over Scarborough Shoal. Philippines and China, as well as other neighboring countries are fighting over the sovereignty of the disputed area. Most recently, the fight over the shoal is now in the internet. It was reported recently that the website of the University of the Philippines was defaced with a message “We come from China! Huangyan Island is ours” and a picture of the map of China. The hacking of the UP website brought another phase to the clash between China and the Philippines.

This act by the purported “Chinese” hackers is illegal. They should be held liable for the malicious act that could have intensified the tension between the Philippines and China. According to section 33(a) of Republic Act 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Act, Hacking or crackling which 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. The act of the hackers fall under section 33(a) because they accessed the website of the UP without authority.

Hacking is a crime. However, based on the territorial characteristics of criminal law in the Philippines, it only punishes committed within the Philippine territory. If the IP address of the purported Chinese hackers really originated from China, the Philippines does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter.

It is infuriating to think that because of this loophole the hackers will remain scot-free. The only solution that I could think of for this kind of situation is that all countries should have a treaty regarding cybercrimes. Since cybercrimes can originate anywhere and affect anyone, a law should be established as a safeguard for all. It would be good if all countries will be a signatory to a treaty regarding cybercrimes so that its effect would be strengthen by the cooperation of all signatories.

The Merger of Labor & Social Media

With the advancement of technology, many websites are developed that allow users to share, publish, or access news, information, media, etc. Social media has become a part of our everyday lives. It includes youtube, facebook, twitter, and the likes. Almost everyone is already a part of this social media frenzy. With this in mind, our professor poses a question in our class on whether the use of such social media can affect how a person may be employed. Can Management use social media and other internet tools as a determinant on whether to hire an individual? Can it also be used as a factor to maintain an employee in work?

In the Philippines, the Constitution provides in its policy that it shall protect the right of workers and promote their welfare. It does not necessarily mean that it will always favor the employees. The employer or management also has rights such as the exercise of management prerogatives. In the case of United Kimberly-Clark Employees Union – Philippine Transport General Workers’ Organization vs. Kimberly-Clark Philippines, Inc. (G.R. No. 162957 March 6, 2006), it provides that:

The Court has recognized in numerous instances the undoubted right of the employer to regulate, according to his own discretion and best judgment, all aspects of employment, including but not limited to, work assignments and supervision, working methods and regulations, time, place and manner of work, processes to be followed, and hiring, supervision, transfer, discipline, lay off, dismissal and recall of workers. Encompassing though it could be, the exercise of this right is not absolute. Management prerogative must be exercised in good faith for the advancement of the employer’s interest and not for the purpose of defeating or circumventing the rights of the employees under special laws, valid agreements such as the individual contract of employment and the collective bargaining agreement, and general principles of justice and fair play.

I believe management has the absolute freedom in the selection of its employee. They can use all tools, even the internet, to find out if the applicant is really fit or possesses the it’s required qualifications and characteristics. Since social media is prevalent, it is a great tool for management to discover characteristics or qualifications of an applicant that is not usually perceived in a job interview.

On the other hand, I believe that once employed, management does not have a say on an employee’s social media life. Even if there is management prerogative, it is not absolute. However, if the act of management is in pursuit of its legitimate business interest, then they have a ground to determine the social media life of an employee.

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