[Mirror] Pinos, Barbara

Summer 2012


Defacement of UP’s Website

Last Friday, April 20, 2012, news were surfaced that University of the Philippines (UP) website was defaced by suspected pro-China hackers. It was reported from various articles and media that on the said date, UP’s website was attacked by showing a map translated in a Chinese characters highlighting the location of Scarborough Shoal followed by a text saying “We come from China! Huangyan Island is Ours”. Since the beginning of territorial disputes over the said island, several clashes occurred and the above situation is one of those.

Followed by this event, Pinoy hacktivist group retaliated by attacking also one of the websites coming from China. It is sad to know that these kinds of things are happening which might lead to destroying other’s properties. When in fact, those territorial disputes can be settled in an appropriate way.

Such attack on the UP’s website, I think it is a form of hacking which is punishable under Republic Act No. 8792 also known as Electronic Commerce Act of 2000. With this act, in my opinion those suspected pro-China hackers can be held liable.

Under the said law Section 33 (a), ‘hacking’ refers to unauthorized access into or interference in a computer system or server, or information and communication system. It could also means 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 communication 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 is punishable.

With the said definition, I think what the suspected Chinese hackers did by defacing the UP’s website, falls under such meaning. If you look it up for the definition of defacement in the internet, it will give you that it is sort of attack of other’s web server by altering the appearance of it. Attacking or entering such server without authorization from the system administrator is considered as hacking. More so, altering such is a form of hacking.

However, RA 8792 is a special law under the Philippine statute and parties involved in the situation are of different nationality. Hence, question will arise if a foreign citizen can be held liable under RA 8792? In my opinion, foreigner can be held liable because under Section 4 of RA 8792, all acts under the said law shall apply to any kind of electronic document used in the context of commercial and non-commercial activities to include domestic and international dealings, transactions, arrangements, agreements contracts and exchanges and storage of information. In this scenario, I think those are forms of international non-commercial activities although done in illegal manner because it is an unauthorized access or interference of a web server.

These statements are not intended to serve as legal advice. This is only an opinion of the author based on understanding of such law. It does not intend to criticize any individual or kinds of group.


Social Networking Sites as basis for your Job Employment

Today, a lot of social networking sites are emerging offering the public more stylish layout for your profile, fun and thrilling online activities, and better way of communicating to your friends and loved ones.

As defined in Wikipedia, social networking service is an online service or site that focuses on facilitating the building of social networks or social relations among people who, for example, share interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections. Most of the popular social sites are Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Foursquare and others. Through these websites, you can share your thoughts, ideas, and feelings for someone or something.

Having account from these websites, you can be at an advantage and disadvantage on the same time. On the positive side, you can communicate with your friends and loved ones even when they are far away and keep them updated of your daily lives or activities. On the negative side, giving too much information of your profiles, timeline and account on the websites will become a threat from hackers, data theft or cyber crime activities. More so, it can affect on your working aspect.

There are companies requiring social networking sites as reference for their resume in order for them to review their profiles whether they should be hire or not. Based on some articles that I have read on websites, some employees are fine with this requirement while most of them are not. The issue for most of them, rejecting this idea, is privacy. In my opinion, references should be boxed only for those natural persons only and not those sites. First, social networking sites are not reliable as it is. You can post information which not really yours making it attractive and that can be a deciding factor your employment. This factor will make it not equal for everybody for the reason that reliance on such is not reliable making the judgment also. As such, depriving others who truthfully stated their information which not that good to see will not be hired. Second, those already employed which those sites are not using as reference is another factor for unequal opportunities. Mostly, there will be violation of their rights of privacy. Under Section 3.1 Article 3 of 1987 Philippine Constitution, it provides that 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. From this provision, there will be a violation of this right. Since supposed to be this social networking sites are intended for private purposes or viewing only for friends and relatives only. Work related issues or matters are not part of these private activities.

There are also companies requiring hired applicants or those employed to be friends with the company account or allowing the company to view their profiles anytime. In my opinion, this will be a violation of their freedom of speech. Under Section 4 Article 3 of 1987 Philippine Constitution, it provides that no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. From this provision, employees are afraid of expressing their thoughts and emotions because it might be the reason for firing them from their job. Therefore, they will not use those sites anymore or even post anything. Hence, they are deprived of that right. However, if the company really wants to implement such policy, the top management should also turn their profiles in the company’s account to make it equal for everyone in the company. The employees are not only the one should be at risk or obliged from this policy. With this, the employees can be able to know too the activities of the top management because the former are relying on them because of the decisions made from the latter. Thus, making it beneficial for both sides.

These statements are not intended to serve as legal advice. This is only an opinion of the author based on understanding of such law. It does not intend to criticize any individual or kinds of group.

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