[Mirror] Santillan, Oscar Ryan

Summer 2012

Hacker Economics

Last April 20 at precisely 2.20 am the University of the Philippines website was hacked by so called China based hackers. Reports said that the Hackers defaced the school’s website and adding the captions “We come from China! Huangyan Island is Ours!” The school was quick to add that no valuable information or no vital data in the server was compromised.

A day after the hacking, supposed Filipino Hacktivist fought back by attacking the China University Media Union site and also defacing its homepage with an image of Guy Fawkes mask and a caption “Chinese government is clearly retarded. Scarborough Shoal is ours!” 15 more websites were said to be attacked by the said Filipino Hacktivist.

Retaliations between the two camps are expected and the Philippine Government are now studying and closely guarding all other websites and their own servers.

China based hackers may have started the so called cyber war between China and the Philippines yet China is not only known in defacing of websites. Companies around the world are already clamoring on the so called hacking of Intellectual property data by this China based hackers.

Countries like the United States, Germany and other Asian Countries are saying that China based hackers are stealing company secrets and using those data to create their own version. This could completely explain why China made products sold in Divisoria are almost so identical and of course they only vary due to the material used yet the design and feature is almost the same.

Recently an article from Bloomberg written by Michael Riley and John Walcott explains the conflict done by China in its target to be ahead against its competitors globally. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-13/china-based-hacking-of-760-companies-reflects-undeclared-global-cyber-war.html

The article titled “China-Based Hacking of 760 Companies Shows Cyber Cold War” showcases how China-based hackers are targeting the intellectual property data stored in the computers of Big Companies like Google Inc. and Research in Motion Ltd. (makers of Blackberry Smartphones) to the niche innovators in other industries like the aerospace, semiconductors, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.

It wasn’t still clear what the hackers do with the information they gather and most of them could be speculations but some of them are clear already like in some industries wherein the china made copy cats had used the feature already before it is being deployed by the author company. We could show a lot of examples but just going to malls like the one in Divisoria wherein a lot of products are copy cat and are against copyright or patent infringement.

The most troubling part in this article is hackers targeting the database of pharmaceutical companies like Abbott and Wyeth and gathering information of drug trials, chemical formulas and other such data. Counterfeiting of merchandise may have an economic impact on companies but I think it is different if you counterfeit medicines, it not only destroys company or products but surely destroy health which I think is over crossing the line. Furthermore let us also consider these hackers who could get the information out of weapons of mass destructions or nuclear weapons. It simply states that war in the modern era is not only done with guns and missiles but also by computers and hackers who could get massive amount of data from the enemy.

In another article by The World.org titled US and China prepare cyber defenses in face of increased hacking threat. (http://www.theworld.org/2012/04/china-us-cyber-war/

The mindset of the Hackers in these economic hacking phenomena was showcase and that is they want the information over the web to be free and they are mainly targeting the lawyers of the companies for they do usually have the playbook of the company. They don’t really care about the legality of intellectual copyright and other protection for the author of such products. Yet coming from their actions it seems that for the country to get ahead with its competitors it had used even the dirty tricks in the book and that is by hacking the servers of company to get valuable information about other companies abroad and try to emulate that product.

Just recently the Senate had approved for the final reading of the cybercrime bill or SB 2796. The bill aims to penalize the following offenses online namely, hacking, cyber squatting, cybersex, online child pornography and selling products without the consent of the recipient. To implement these said regulations, a new agency is then made named the National Cybersecurity Coordinating council which will be under the Office of the President.

China may have started a trend of hacking companies for its trade secrets yet it seems that it had incurred a lot of illegal activities mainly with intellectual property infringement and hacking violations. With its recent attacks on our land, it would be safe to assume that they may have also targeted trade secrets within companies registered within our country. At the very least I am secured that the National Broadband deal wasn’t awarded to ZTE corporation of China, just how easy it would then for China based hackers to go into our government and other institutions to gather not only valuable information about our leaders but also on the trade secrets we have specially that one of the greatest traits of Filipinos is creativity which China based hackers seem to be targeting the most.

Hiring using Social Media

Companies are now using Social Media sites to check on potential employees before they are able to hire them. According to mindflash.com, around 45% of companies are now using social media sites to check not only their existing employees but also would be employees. (http://www.mindflash.com/blog/2011/08/social-screening-how-companies-are-using-social-media-to-hire-fire-employees/?view=mindflashgraphic)

I think that this kind of behavior by companies, although no laws are yet existing in our country in prohibiting or promoting this practice, is unconstitutional.

The number one question for me when using Social Media sites in checking or profiling a potential employee is that it could promote discrimination in a whole new level. A classic example is the case of lady applicant who was turned down the job offer because it was known through her facebook account that she is pregnant.

It is in section 3 of our Labor Code that

“The State shall afford protection to labor, promote full employment, ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed and regulate the relations between workers and employers. The State shall assure the rights of workers to self-organization, collective bargaining, security of tenure, and just and humane conditions of work.”

The other question is when a company fires or reprimands an employee due to its activities which it was done online or through social media and although it has disturbing effects on the company yet I strongly believe that is violates the constitutional rights of an employee with its freedom of speech, freedom to engage in peaceful concerted activities and to organize. An example is when an employee rants about his work or about his bosses online.

It is in Section 4, Art. III. Which states 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.”

Using social media sites to get information without asking directly about any potential applicant or checking your current employee could be a marvel idea yet it seems that it is contrary to law in some aspects specially in our constitutional rights. It may be connecting private life and work life yet companies must learn to balance to in crossing that fine line between constitutional rights and business rights.

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