Valdez, Albert

Summer 2012

  • Cyber Attack: Free for China!
  • Potential Employment through Social Media Network?!

Cyber Attack: Free for China!

“We come from China! Huangyan Island is Ours.” Familiar? This is what the hackers (claim to be from China) stated when they defaced the University of the Philippines’ website few weeks ago which led to the temporarily shutting down of the website. (Huangyan Island is the disputed Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal.)

Cyber attack is an act of hacking which is a criminal offense. But what penalty or punishment can we impose to these hackers if they are foreign nationals? If they are only Filipinos, it would be very easy under Section 33(a) of Republic Act no. 8792 which provides for a punishment of 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 for unauthorized access into or interference of a computer system/server or information and communication system among others.

Because that law is not applicable to foreigners and jurisdiction over them cannot be obtained, I tried to search for international laws which we could use to make them liable and pay for their misdoing. I found this Budapest Convention or the Convention on Cybercrime of 2001 promulgated by the Council of Europe which was ratified on 7 January 2004. This treaty is open for signatures of member and non-member States. (For complete copy of the treaty you may click this link Philippines is a signatory to this treaty. I somehow felt enlightened because hackers may be punished. But my excitement immediately died when I learned that China is not a signatory to that convention. Jurisdiction over the hackers from China will not be obtained, thus, no penalty may be imposed using this treaty.

Even the request for extradition will not be possible as the Extradition Law of the People’s Republic of China states under Article 8 of the Order of the President No. 42 that, The request for extradition made by a foreign state to the People’s Republic of China shall be rejected if: (1) the person sought is a national of the People’s Republic of China under the laws of the People’s Republic of China; xxx. Although the Philippines have an outstanding extradition treaty with China, it is useless in this case, as again, jurisdiction over the person of the accused cannot be obtained.

I believe that even the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the United Nations (UN) cannot do anything about it. China has been very adamant recently. It has been written that China refused to accept international arbitration to settle the Scarborough Shoal dispute, what more putting its people to an arbitration. It is also a general rule that States are not legally bound for arbitration except when it is provided under a treaty. However, there are no treaties between the Philippines and China pertaining to arbitration, hence, China won. Their people are free to do cyber attacking.

I think unless the United Nations do something about this, it will only be repeated. The Security Council of UN must promulgate a law which the member States are compelled to follow in order to prevent this from further happening.

Potential Employment through Social Media Network?!

Nowadays, social media networks plays significant role in almost everybody’s lives. Even offices, firms, corporations, etc. use the same to reach their target markets and even their potential employees. However, the questions now are:

  • Is social media and internet tools essential in the acceptance of an applicant; and
  • Whether these institutions may use internet search tools and access to social media accounts in determining the most suitable candidate?

Employers are free to use anything that is available to them to ensure that they have procured the services of quality employees. Is it illegal? Of course not but may the employers compel the prospective employees to add them in their social media accounts? Vehemently not. That is against their constitutional right. They are the owner of the accounts and they are free to do anything in it as long as it is lawful.

Yes, social media may be indicative of their attitudes toward anything which is helpful in determining their fitness to a possible position in their company; the employers may still find difficulty as these attitudes may not be truthful.

Now, is it essential? No, but it may be very helpful as it adds value on what they can actually made on their old ways of background or character checking of the potential employment.

May they use these tools? Obviously YES! But they have to be very careful of the consequences since they are not necessarily true or reflective of truth. No one can prevent them. As what the DABARKADS always say now, “It’s a free country you can do wachu want!” There are no legal impediments in doing so, however, they should not rely on it as employees are essential part of the company. It may make or break the institution.

Now, let me tackle those who are already employed. May the employers use these internet tools to monitor their people for possible promotion or retention of their employment? Employees are lucky if they are not connected in any ways with their employers and I am in the position that it is much better to not add them up with your account. Their social media activities will not be monitored.

We are very aware that social media are being used sometimes to air the sentiments of the employees. May these sentiments be used against the employees? I respectfully believe YES. Remember that employers are the owners of these businesses and they have to carefully pick who among their people should lead the company. Employers will not choose leaders who are against their visions. Employers and employees, to actually achieve their goal, they should always be at least at par with each other.

One of my mentors in the Church once told me that, “If you are not growing in the Church you belong now, find other Church which you will find growth.” Do not use the social media to lambast your employer. If you are not happy with their company policy, then leave. But if this may be resolve in diplomatic way, do it first. Diplomacy is always better.

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