Villarico, Rupert Aaron

Summer 2012

  • Foreign Nationals (Chinese) Hacking into Philippine Websites
  • Yes or No? May Employers Access into its Employees’ Social Networking Sites?

Foreign Nationals (Chinese) Hacking into Philippine Websites

Can they be held liable under the Philippine E-Commerce Law for the violation of Section 33?

Considering the circumstances surrounding the incident, hackers access into the University of the Philippines website without permission and identifying themselves as Chinese Nationals claiming that Scarborough Shoal belongs to China, amounts to corruption which is a violation of E-Commerce Law of the Philippines. However, they cannot be prosecuted directly by the Philippine Government for the violation of Section 33 of E-Commerce Law because such acts were committed outside our territorial boundary.

After confirming the identities of these hackers, the IP address, Internet Service Provider, and any other information which shall establish whether or not such actions amounts to hacking. And if it appears that the hacking was committed outside our shores then the Philippine E-Commerce Law finds no application.

What the Philippine Government can do is to coordinate with the proper Chinese authority and to inquire about their Law, whether hacking by its Nationals violates Chinese law on cybercrimes and ask for their assistance for these hackers to be arrested and investigated by them (Chinese Authorities) .

In our case, the University of the Philippines is located in the Philippines, where the computer systems and websites are located, while the hacker is in China. The Philippines can try to get the case registered for hacking in China, but the chances are that it may not succeed in this exercise as the hacker is outside the territorial boundaries of the Philippines. Even if the case is registered in China, it would be difficult to get the Chinese hacker to Philippines for trial under the Philippine cyber law. While it is true that the law provides for extra territorial jurisdiction to law enforcement agencies, but in reality this can hardly be exercised.

Extradition is the only means available, provided there is an extradition treaty between Philippines and China. Even if there is indeed a treaty, it would be a very lengthy process and rather ineffective in the context of cyber crime issues. Cyber criminals act swiftly to delete and destroy all electronic footprints of their crimes.

In a similar case, last year the United States Government through their Federal Bureau of Investigation asked CIDG’s Anti-Transnational and Cyber Crime Division (ATCCD) assistance regarding a complaint filed by a Telecommunication Company based in the USA of hacking activities allegedly done against them by Filipinos here in the Philippines. Said acts lead to the loss of US$2Million incurred by the telecommunication company, which were then linked to terrorist groups who is funding the Filipino Hackers. They were arrested and is facing charges here in the Philippines by virtue of the E-Commerce Law, violation of Section 33.

Considering the circumstances, actions committed by Chinese Hackers against Philippine Websites qualifies, under Section 33 of Philippine E-Commerce Law, as Hacking so on that point, GUILTY.

On the other hand, these actions by Chinese Hackers were committed outside our territorial jurisdiction therefore our laws does not extend to them, as far as E-Commerce Law is concerned, so on this point Philippines cannot prosecute the actions of the Chinese Hackers.


Yes or No? May Employers Access into its Employees’ Social Networking Sites?

It is the prerogative of an employer on how it will determine who can be a part of its institution. The government provides for the laws and implementing rules on which the employers as well as the employees are bound to adhere. In a government where the policies are interpreted only by law and legal substance, morality, though not apparently included is inherent upon those who are implementing the rules. The law may be harsh but that is the law, it is made so that it will be implemented and followed. The law stops where it is already infringing into the rights of another. Laws must not be oppressive, laws are supposedly protecting the rights of those who are afforded with.

In allowing employers to access its prospective or current employee’s social networking sites and accounts renders it as a violation of one’s right of privacy. Imagine during the job interview the employer scans through your Facebook account looking for something which they may find for or against their company which you are applying for a job, it is like you are being molested or humiliated in front of other people, it’s like letting them play inside your own backyard without you giving them the permission.

There are other avenues on how to conduct a background check on one’s identity. Social networking behavior does not represent one’s personality and character. It is a mere outlet of one’s self. The employer is so afraid that employees might inadvertedly leak classified information by making a post in a social networking site. The presumption must be that the employee is capable of separating his social life with his professional life, by letting employers access the employee’s social networking site is like preventing a violation which no one knows whether it would be committed or not. Suppose the employer finds something which will prejudice the employees chances of being hired. The act of entering into a social networking site is demeaning and undignified, again, the social networking site behavior of a person does not reflect his way of life, and it is a mere outlet, an expression of one ’s self.

In the State of Maryland in the USA, its lawmakers passed a legislation protecting employees from employer’s who require social networking access. The focal point of which is the protection for privacy. In the United States privacy is a big thing and people are always aware of their rights, they should be because they are in the land of the free. Living in the United States is simple, because people know their role in the society, they trust their government, though people are free to voice their thoughts, they can do what they want as long as it is in accordance with the law, bottom line is they know their role and they let their government do its job, not like here in the Philippines where everyone wants to be president. By implementing this law, the citizens are guaranteed of the protection without having to worry whether the employer requires their usernames and passwords, it is not a question of whether it is moral or not, rather if it is lawful or unlawful.

In another article, Facebook, the social networking giant has also raised its fight against employers asking for the access of social networking sites. It says that it is not only injurious upon ones’ self it will also be harmful to the employees friends and friends of friends.

If what the employers are trying to protect are their rights, they should not be infringing some other person’s rights either, by going into their social networking sites.


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