Casiño calls for a ‘digital civil disobedience’ if Cybercrime Law is not prevented

MAKABAYAN senatoriable and party-list representative Teddy Casiño today called on the online community to prepare for a ‘digital civil disobedience’ should the Supreme Court fail to extend the temporary restraining order (TRO) on RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Law in their coming en-banc session on February 5.

He advised netizens to coordinate the simultaneous posting of critical content such as comments, memes, tweets and statements to express protest while avoiding being singled out by authorities.

“We must not be cowed should the Supreme Court fail to stop the return of Cyber Martial Law. This in fact is the best time for a chorus of protest by thousands of netizens as authorities will be hard-pressed to triangulate the origin of the content, much less lock us up by the thousands,” said Casiño.

Casiño referred to various provisions of the Cybercrime Law, which authorizes law enforcement agencies to file libel cases on posters of any content considered libelous. According to Section 5 of the law, even the act of ‘liking’ or reposting content on Facebook is considered as aiding in the commission of Cybercrime.

“Mismong si Solicitor General Jardeleza na ang umamin na maaaring gamitin ang Cybercrime Law sa ‘big brother style’ na pag-monitor, pagkuha o pagharang ng datos at komunikasyon. Paano nila nagawang masabi na constitutional ang RA 10175 kung gobyerno na mismo ang nagsasabi na matatapakan nito ang ating karapatan sa malayang pamamahayag?”Casiño asked.

“Hindi sagot sa mga krimeng ginagawa sa internet ang sapilitang pagbusal sa mga opinyon at kritisismong pinapahayag dito,” he said. “The Cybercrime Law is too similar to the Great Firewall of China to genuinely function as a vanguard policy for online safety, as the authors of the law would have us believe.”

“The TRO must be extended until such time when the Congress can repeal this repressive law and ultimately pass a democratic alternative. We co-authored HB 6818 or the Magna Carta for Internet Users exactly for this purpose. Until then, we will repost the memes of ‘Pixel Offensive’ and the blogs of ‘Professional Heckler’ with no fear,” said Casiño.

HB 6818 seeks to establish a bill of rights for bloggers and other internet users and to prohibit acts that infringe on their privacy.

Casiño is among the 15 groups of petitioners calling the repeal of the Cybercrime Law. He also authored in Congress HB 6613, which sought to effectively repeal the law or amend its repressive provisions.

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