SY 2012-2013, Second Semester
There are several definitions and descriptions of the word privacy that one may find. But for me, the best and most simple way of defining and describing privacy is through the phrase “LEAVE ME ALONE!” Privacy for me is “mind your own business!” “This is mine and mine alone.” “I will let you if I want to.”
Privacy is one of the most fundamental rights that a person has aside from life, liberty and property. But unfortunately, it also one of the rights that is most abused and not respected. People invade other people’s privacy. Simple act of going inside a bedroom that is not yours without consent is invading his/her privacy. Reading the text messages of others is also invading privacy. In short, invading privacy of others is an evolving problem which starts from simple acts and growing to more intricate ways. It even grows together with the advancement of our so called “technology”. Even crimes progress along with society. Unethical acts are also modernized together with time, such as hacking, spamming, phishing and identity theft.
In our present time, where we call it the “modern age” or “computer age”, technology is everywhere. We have computers, ipads, iphones, androids, etc. Everything is easy access now a day. Information can be accessed in a single click. Just a single click and everything you want to know will just flash on your screen. Old and young people alike are using the internet. Facebook, twitters, blogs, almost everybody are using these social networking sites which they publicize their private information and even what they do and where they are. Anybody can have access to these and may see and know what one posts.
Technology has gone far in affecting people’s lives in this information age. Internet, nowadays, is fast becoming the alternative tool of fraudulent activities for economic and financial gain. With these, how far has our Philippine government, worked in combating the challenges of this age? Is it able to compete with its demand? 
We also have surveillance cameras and CCTV cameras in all over the places which monitors everything that we do. I have watched several foreign movies which depicts the idea that several government agencies have access to all things in the world. Generally, all things! They can access your phones. They may locate you where you are at a certain time. Who you talked to and even can follow you until the comfort room. Though these were just movies, still they are close to reality and some are really happening in the real world. Now, DO WE STILL HAVE PRIVACY AS INDIVIDUALS?
The Philippine Constitution and other laws that were promulgated protect the privacy of the people. These are also supplemented by some jurisprudence. The Philippine Constitution states in Sec. 3, Art. III of the Bill of Rights that “(1) The 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. (2) Any evidence obtained in violation of this or proceeding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.” The Constitution protects the right of an individual to communication and correspondence. Communication is not only limited to the old school type of communication like telephones, mails and telegrams, but with the presence of modern technology it should also apply to modern types of communications like chatting, vibers, messengers, emails, facetime, skype and alike. Espoused with these kinds of communications are the information of the owners of accounts, such as, their names, addresses, contact numbers and alike. Somehow they are the ones who publicize their personal information. Some are too careless to expose their own identity down to its minute details. Then enters the people who take advantage of these information with malicious intents.
In the case of Ople vs Torres, G.R. No. 127685. July 23, 1998, the Supreme Court stated:
“Indeed, if we extend our judicial gaze we will find that the right of privacy is recognized and enshrined in several provisions of our Constitution. It is expressly recognized in Section 3(1) of the Bill of Rights:
“Sec. 3. (1) The 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.”
Other facets of the right to privacy are protected in various provisions of the Bill of Rights, viz:
“Sec. 1. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.
x x x.
Sec. 6. The liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court. Neither shall the right to travel be impaired except in the interest of national security, public safety, or public health, as may be provided by law.
x x x.
Sec. 8. The right of the people, including those employed in the public and private sectors, to form unions, associations, or societies for purposes not contrary to law shall not be abridged.
Sec. 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.”
Zones of privacy are likewise recognized and protected in our laws. The Civil Code provides that “[e]very person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons” and punishes as actionable torts several acts by a person of meddling and prying into the privacy of another. It also holds a public officer or employee or any private individual liable for damages for any violation of the rights and liberties of another person, and recognizes the privacy of letters and other private communications. The Revised Penal Code makes a crime the violation of secrets by an officer, the revelation of trade and industrial secrets, and trespass to dwelling. Invasion of privacy is an offense in special laws like the Anti-Wiretapping Law, the Secrecy of Bank Deposit Act and the Intellectual Property Code. The Rules of Court on privileged communication likewise recognize the privacy of certain information.
x x x.
The right to privacy is one of the most threatened rights of man living in a mass society. The threats emanate from various sources– governments, journalists, employers, social scientists, etc. “
Indeed our highest court recognizes the fact that there is a right to privacy and very much threatened in our civilized society.
As society progresses, the needs and application of law also progresses. Several laws were enacted have as subject matter the modern technology. One of the laws enacted by our legislatures is Republic Act No. 10173 or otherwise known as “AN ACT PROTECTING INDIVIDUAL PERSONAL INFORMATION IN INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM IN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR, CREATING FOR THIS PURPOSE A NATIONAL PRIVACY COMMISSION, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”. It is also known as the “ DATA PRIVACY ACT OF 2012”. This law, signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III on August 15, 2012, protects the integrity and confidentiality of individual personal information in information and communication systems in the government and the private sector. The new law penalizes the unauthorized disclosure of personal information. It protects journalists and publishers, as they will not be compelled to reveal the source of a news report.
RA 10173 was patterned on standards set by Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and aligned with Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Information Privacy Framework that protect the integrity of personal data. It provides for the creation of a National Privacy Commission that will monitor and ensure compliance of the country with international standards for data protection. The commission will implement the law, receive complaints, issue cease-and-desist orders, compel entities to abide by its orders and monitor compliance, and enforce policies that balance the right of the private person to privacy.
The passage of RA 10173 is expected to boost investment in the fast-growing information technology and business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industries. Hailing its enactment, the Business Processing Association of the Philippines said the new law brings the Philippines to international standards of privacy protection as much of IT-BPO work involves confidential personal and company information of local and foreign clients.
Excluded in the scope of RA 10173 are, among others, personal information processed for journalistic, artistic, literary or research purposes, information about government officials and other civil servants, information necessary for banks and financial institutions as part of anti-money laundering efforts, and personal data processed by central monetary authorities and law enforcement and regulatory agencies. 
How does RA 10173 affect me personally as a citizen? For me it is favorable because it tends to protect my privacy, integrity and confidentiality when it comes to personal information in information and communication systems. Though my personal data will be processed by the government still there is a security that it will be used for legal and lawful purposes. Despite all the news about our government as being corrupt, still I trust the government in ensuring the security of every citizen. I respect the true intent of the lawmakers in making laws that they make the laws for the benefit and protection of the society and is people. I will still entrust my personal data to the government if needed because I still believe in our government. If we do not believe in our government, to whom shall we believe in running this country? In the first place we are the ones who voted our leaders. I know that as a citizen of this country, they intended to protect my rights when they made this law. You may call me a hypocrite but this is reality.
By this law I also feel secured from future violations that may be happen which is covered by this law. We cannot deny the fact that there are so many people who would take advantage when it comes to the personal data of every individual. They would use these data in one way or another to gain from other people in unlawful way. Many innocent people were victimized by these people. There are people who would disclose personal information or data of other people to others just for their personal gain. People would give these data without the consent of the owner for compensation. It is not impossible that I may be a victim of this kind of act. With enactment of RA no. 10173, which penalizes the unlawful disclosure of the personal information of others, I as a citizen will be secured and protected from these people.
For economic purposes, this law would encourage investors and businessmen to engage in business in our country without fear that their information as well as their clients will be divulged without their knowledge and consent. The law also protects these persons, natural or juridical, from the unlawful disclosure of their information. This would promote free trade in our country. When this happens, I would still benefit from the economic boost of our country as a citizen. Our economy would grow and would develop our trade internationally.
By virtue of necessity, as stated earlier, privacy is one of the most threatened rights of people. This law is one of the solutions of the government in protecting the abuses and evasion to the privacy of its citizens. This is the shield of the people from those people who would unlawfully evade their privacy, take their personal information or data and disclose them to people without the consent and knowledge of the owner, whatever his/her intent maybe. This law would be the volt of the personal data of every citizen that they may keep these information from the reach of others and keep it within the walls of their life and may only be disclosed upon their.
As to its beneficiality, all the citizens would benefit from the law. Not only the journalists, media, press, businessmen, investors, etc., but all the citizens because each and every citizen has his/her own personal life, privacy, and personal information or data to protect, from the youngest person in the planet up to the oldest.
As to the practicability of the law, in our modern times right now, where most individual is so vulnerable in the sense that his personal can be accessed easily through the internet, and almost everybody is using the internet, it is but practical that there should be a law that would protect the people from these intruders.
Every life should be basically private. It is only the works of man that some lives loose their sense of privacy. Just like the public officials whose life is imbued with public interest. But still, public figures as they are, there should be part of their lives that should be treated with privacy. Everything has limitations. One should always respect the privacy of others. Respect generates respect. If you want others to respect your privacy, you should also respect others’ privacy. this is the Golden Rule “DO UNTO OTHERS, WHAT YOU WANT OTHERS DO UNTO YOU.”
The personal identity and information of an individual is part and parcel of his privacy. Thus, no one is allowed to intrude to this sacred right. Sacred as it is, it should always be protected and respected. The government should provide laws that would protect these rights. Even though there are laws that protect the rights of the people, yet still it is first and foremost the obligation of every individual to protect his own rights. One should not be careless in the discharge of his own personal information. Each should be responsible enough for his own security.
MAY GOD BLESS US ALL!
 Katlyn Anne C. Aguilar, KEEPING ONE’S PERSONALITY AND HUMANITY IN THE ELECTRONIC AND CYBER AGE, UST LAW REVIEW, VOL. LIV
 http://ph.news.yahoo.com/data-privacy-act-2012-102336873.html, (last accessed December 5, 2012)
Technology of man has evolved so rapid through the lapse of time. Long before, our forefathers used stones as their tools. Then came fire which was used in different ways like cooking, heating and alike. Through the years the technology of mankind has evolved. Man has discovered the use of metals, plastics, papers, wood and many others. Before man lived in caves, then man learned to build houses by the use of wood and leaves. Thousand of years had passed and we can now see high rise buildings condominiums and different kinds of structures which depicts beautiful and intricate architecture. Communication also has evolved much. From time people use ravens or birds to send their message to the time man has used telegraphs. And now, we can send messages in an instant without waiting for a long time for our message to reach its destination. Life of man has become easier and comfortable. The world offers all kinds of comfort through our modern technology. This simple means that man does not settle for less at he always wants more. The intelligence of man has brought us this far in all aspects especially in terms of technology.
Now come the age of computers and internet. Everything is instant. Messages reach their destinations in just one click. Information can be acquired in just one click. One can see his/her loved ones even miles away or on the other side of the world without necessarily going to such place, just in one click. In the internet, everything can be done just in one click. We have now several social networking site which gives us the opportunity to meet people in different people not just in one’s place but also from different parts of the world. In the business world, everything is already computerized for purposes. Now bulk of files and documents may be avoided by the use of computers. Business transactions can now be made through the use of computer and internet. And one can also have his own business as long as he has a computer and internet connection. Also, education will not be left behind in the evolution of technology. Some students do not already use books and other school materials in school because of modern technology. In just a single “IPAD” or a “TAB” a student or teacher can have all his/her books and reading materials. This can be acquired through the internet. People need not go to huge libraries and carry towers of books to do their research. In just one click in the internet you can already have the information that you want. If you do not know something and you don’t want to ask others for fear of being embarrassed of being called an ignorant, Filipinos has this expression “I.M.G.” which means “I-google Mo Gago”, and boom, you will be informed. In other words, the everyday life of mankind as espoused to the use of INTERNET!
Because of this evolution and now the age of internet, many people have taken advantage of the use of internet in different ways. Some in a good way, but still others in a way that would offend other people and worse in a way which violates the rights of others. Along with the evolution of technology, laws should also evolve to cater the needs and exigencies of time. That is why nations all over the world made their own laws governing the use of internet. Laws that would create the rights of the internet users or what they call now the “netizens” and also to protect these rights from violations of those people who would tend to violate these rights of others.
Here in the Philippines, our lawmakers made several laws that create rights of internet users and penalties for violations of these rights. We have, Republic Act No. 8792 or the Electronic Commerce Law, the Rules on Electronic Evidence, Republic Act No. 10173 “An Act Protecting Individual Personal Information In Information and Communications Systems In The Government And The Private Sector, Creating For This Purpose A National Privacy Commission And For Other Purposes”, and the most controversial Republic Act 10175 “An Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing For The Prevention, Investigation, Suppression And The Imposition of Penalties Therefore And For Other Purposes” also popularly known as the “CYBERCRIME CRIME PREVENTION ACT OF 2012” or “CYBERCRIME LAW”.
The Cybercrime law was recently promulgated by our legislature with the intention of protecting certain rights in the world of internet. But this was made in to law despite all criticisms it had. As early as it was yet a bill many people and several groups criticized this law. It was said that several of its provisions was a violation of the constitution and hence unconstitutional. That is way some people had protested to its passage and it was under a Temporary Restraining Order. This law is still confidential and highly debatable.
Many people and even some of the lawmakers do not like the provisions contained in the Cybercrime Law. That is why Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago has drafted the Bill No. 3327 also known as “MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM (MCPIF)”. This bill is intended to replace the controversial Cybercrime Law. This law is intended for the same purpose, to create the rights of the internet users, to protect these rights and to punish those acts which violate these rights. But the question is “if Bill No. 3327 will be enacted as a law, is it a better law compared to the Cybercrime Law? Which of the two is better that would serve to protect the interest of the internet users?”
WHICH OF THE TWO IS BETTER? If a person would be given a chance to choose between two vitamins, one that contains vitamin C only and the other that contains vitamins from A to Zinc which is more complete he would most probably choose the latter because in just one vitamin it contains all the vitamins and nutrients that his body needs. Why settle for less if you can have more? Following this line of thinking, I would say with all conviction that Bill No. 3327 or the MCPIF being introduced by Senator Miriam Santiago will be a better law compared to the Cybercrime Law. Generally, it is a more comprehensive compared to the cybercrime law. It expressly states in its provisions the rights and freedom in the use of internet and the rights and privileges guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution, especially the Bill of Rights, and those rights and privileges provided by the treaties and conventions which are made applicable in the Philippines. It also states the punishable acts with more clarity as compared to those stated in the cybercrime law which brings ambiguity in its definitions. Together with punishable acts are the penalties which are more appropriate.
Primarily, the cybercrime law was protested because of its being overbreadth and void for vagueness hence it is unconstitutional. It is overbreadth and void for vagueness because it tends to punish certain cyberacts or internet act as punishable which in truth and in fact it should not be punishable. Laws should not be so broad enough to bring confusion to mind of the people and it also should not be vague so that it could be easily understood by the lay people. This is what happened in the cybercrime law. It brought confusion to the mind of the people as to what are the specific acts that are punishable under the law. Beause it gave an impression to the people that almost all the internet activities may be punished. The MCPIF does not suffer this kind of problem for it is clearer.
Another reason for its being unconstitutional its violation of the right of the people to privacy because the authority can intrude to the privacy of the people without even the observance of the right of the people to due process. The cybercrime law does not provide for the procedural right of the people to due notice and hearing before the authority can intrude to the right of privacy of the people. While the MCPIF provides protection to the right of the internet users to their privacy.
In connection with the statements made in the previous paragraph, another reason for its being unconstitutional is its violation to the right of the users to due process of the law which is expressly guaranteed by the 1987 Constitutional. This violation is not committed in the MCPIF.
The cybercrime law also violates the right against illegal searches and seizures for allowing real-time collection of traffic data in the absence of a valid warrant. This is not allowed in MCPIF. The MCPIF specifically provides for the due process in collection of the said data through by providing strict guidelines for any collection of any data owned by private internet users. It also provides that a search a warrant should be secured first before they can collect data. It also obliges the authority to notify the internet user before the authority can seize anything. The right to seize by the authority is also not without limitation. The authority can only seize data and not physical properties of the internet users. In observance of the people’s right to privacy the MCPIF mandates the authority to secure the collected and seized data that no other may obtain it without authority. These data, though already seized, must be protected from those people who would like to have them to be used against the owner of the data. It is still their private data and should not be used other than those purposes intended and allowed by the law.
One of the freedoms that is most exercised in the cyberworld is the freedom of expression and of speech. That is why it is also well protected by MCPIF. But this protection is not without exception. The MCPIF also punishes libel committed trough the internet. This is to protect the Filipino people from the libelous statements against them committed in the internet by those who abuse their right of speech and expression. Comprehensive as it is, MCPIF does not define “libel” in an overbreadth and vague manner which the cybercrime law. The cybercrime law was very much suffered criticizisms because of the overbreadth and vagueness of its provisions with regard “libel”. It is so general that it will cover as much as I would which on the first place it would supposed to be covered and it also vague for one may not readily know if his or her act would fall under such offense.
The right against double jeopardy is also violated because the cybercrime law allows the prosecution of a single offense or act against the provisions of the Revised Penal Code and also other special laws. This is not allowed under the MCPIF.
One of the problems not only of the Philippines but also the whole world is terrorism. Terrorists have also evolved and grow together with technology. Terrorists has also plotted they terrorist attacks not only by the use of bombs, guns and other explosive devices but also through the internet. In other words, terrorism has already penetrated in the cyberworld. Terrorists have used the internet to do terrorism. That is why the internet must be fortified from the evil that is brought by terrorism. Because of this the MCPIF ensures that the Philippines have available defenses that would the country from the possible attacks of the terrorists and also other people or state through cyber technology. This is ensured by the MCPIF in its provisions.
Indeed the MCPIF is better compared to the Cybercrime Law. I would strongly agree with the author of Bill No. 3372 that the Cybercrime Law must be repealed. It would be great redundancy in the law if both laws will be upheld. MCPIF covers everything essential that the cybercrime law that covers and more is offered by the former.
Many petty crimes have been committed through the internet. One of which is cyber bullying. Like what happened to the lady in the famous “AMALAYER VIDEO” the girl was deeply scrutinized when she yielded on the lady guard in the train station. Many questions could be raised in such circumstance. Those people who saw the video has made different comments some where in favor of her but mostly are against what she did. the video became a short time sensation in the country. It was even shown on the national television in different stations. Because of the criticisms made by other people, the lady was deeply embarrassed. She is indeed a victim of cyber bullying. The question now is “is the person who uploaded the video in the internet liable for the embarrassment brought to the lady in the video?”. This is just one of the circumstances that should be addressed by the government. Petty things indeed these are but still the rights of the people are at stake here.
Prostitution is already committed through the internet. There are so many sites that offers pornography and live video streaming of people, male and female alike, that are immoral and obscene. Even the children are exploited in this kind of crime. Many cybersex dens have been apprehended already. This should already be stopped.
Every person is very much vulnerable in the cyberworld. There is no person that could prevent other people from making untoward acts in the internet world. So enters the laws that are promulgated to protect the people.
The government through its lawmaking bodies are the ones who are empowered to create the laws the would protect its people. But laws should not be shallow and made half-hazard way. Every law shall be well thought of by the lawmakers for rights of the people are at stake. Rights of the people should be well protected and punishments should also be clearly stated without ambiguity. These punishments should be clear enough because it is of no good to punish a person who does an act does not know that what he or she does is punishable by law.
It is also an elementary rule in law making that it should be in consonance with the highest law of the land the Constitution and should never go against it. Any law that goes against the constitution should never be allowed. The people are weak enough to defend their rights on their own that is why there are laws made that protect these people from any mischievous acts done against them. These acts can now be very much committed through the internet. There must be a substantive law that would protect the people in the internet world. A law that would best protect and serve the interest of the internet users and the whole nation. And in my own opinion Republic Act.10175 is not the proper law. The cybercrime law does not well protect the interest of the internet users. There are so many loopholes and insufficiencies in the said law. There are so many violations against the Constitution that made me to think that it was not drafted with scrutiny. The lawmakers maybe drafted it in a fast and urgent manner just to say that the Philippines have a law governing the cyberworld.
On the other hand, I strongly believe that the Bill No. 3327 also known as “MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM should be made into law repeal Republic Act No. 10175 because for me this bill if made a law will best protect the interest of the people and the nation in the world of internet. This bill does not only cover the criminal and civil aspect of the law but also it covers other areas like the intellectual property law. This would be, if not the best but a better guidelines for internet users in the present and also in the future. The internet is so vulnerable to different kinds of crimes and offenses.
The Philippines is one of the countries that has the most number of internet users especially when it comes to social networking sites like facebook, twitter, multiply and the like. This is already the truth that could not be denied and prevented. The government should deal with this and protect these millions of internet users in the Philippines through the passage the Bill No. 3327 also known as “MAGNA CARTA FOR PHILIPPINE INTERNET FREEDOM.”