House approves cybercrime bill

THE House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading a bill that defines and punishes cybercrime to prevent and suppress its proliferation.

House Bill 5808  complies with the declared policy of the State, which recognizes the increasingly vital role of information and communications technology (ICT) as an enabler of key industries such as banking, broadcasting, business process outsourcing, electronic commerce and telecommunications, and as a driving force for the nation’s overall social and economic development.

The passage of HB 5808, otherwise known as the “Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012,” will enable the State to adopt sufficient powers to effectively prevent and combat all forms of misuse, abuse and illegal access by facilitating their detection, investigation, arrest and prosecution at both the domestic and international levels, and by providing arrangements for fast and reliable international cooperation.

The bill also seeks the creation of the Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) under the administrative supervision of the Office of the President to formulate and implement a national cyber security plan.

Offenses punishable under the measure are those against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems such as illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference and misuse of devices.

Computer-related offenses such as computer forgery and computer-related fraud and content-related offenses which include cybersex, unsolicited commercial communication, cyber defamation and cyber threats are also punishable under the measure.

Likewise, aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime and attempt to commit cybercrime are liable to be punished.

Penalty for the commission of offenses against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems and those that are computer-related is prision mayor or a fine of P200,000.

Cybersex offense is punishable by prision mayor or a fine of P1,000,000 or both while child pornography offense is meted with a penalty of reclusion temporal or a fine of P1,250,000.

Furthermore, unsolicited commercial communications offense is punishable with arresto mayor or a fine of P250,000 or both.

Under the measure, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) are mandated as law enforcement agencies responsible for the efficient and effective implementation of the provisions of this Act.

The bill provides that the Department of Justice (DOJ) shall be responsible for extending immediate assistance for the purpose of investigations or proceedings concerning criminal offenses related to computer systems and data, for the collection of electronic evidence of a criminal offense and to ensure that the provisions of this law are complied with.

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