“MAGNA CARTA FOR INTERNET FREEDOM, HOW CAN THIS SENATE BILL NO. 53 BE IMPROVED”

Freedom in the internet if not regulated and controlled is open to abused and is dangerous since it can be used as a means to commit crimes whether it be against private person or against the state or government.
Senate Bill no. 53 introduced by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is a noble proposal that will help prevent commission of crimes through the access of internet by strict regulations.
All laws, rules, regulations and guidelines drafted and passed by Congress have its flaws and loopholes, the proposed Senate Bill No. 53 is not an exemption.
In the proposed Magna Carta for Internet Freedom, the State affirms and guarantees to protect the rights and privileges of the Filipino people provided by the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and those established under general principles of International Law.
Above preceding is in consonance with Section 4 of Senate Bill No 53 which provides the freedom of expression, “protecting and promoting freedom of speech and expression on the Internet” and protecting the right of the people to petition the government via the Internet for “redress of grievances” and the right of citizens to publish to the Internet without the requirement of a license.
However, it is noted that Section 5 of the Senate Bill No. 53 provides for the Promotion of universal access to the Internet. A person has a right to unrestricted access to the Internet, and only upon discretion of the appropriate Cybercrime Court whose jurisdiction is defined in this Act, may suspend such access as an accessory penalty upon final conviction for criminal offenses provided by the same.

The foregoing is difficult to harmonized as the state guarantees the protection of rights and privacy while simultaneously promoting universal and unrestricted access of internet, thus, providing a way to commit crimes in the internet without difficulty.

In this instance, the protection and security of private individuals should be given importance than that of promoting unrestricted access of the internet. Universal and unrestricted access should be strictly regulated so as to enhance the protection of privacy of private individuals and government security.

The right to privacy and security to data would be difficult to protect in view of the protection of unrestricted access to the internet. Definite rules and guidelines should be drafted so as to restrict and limit the authorized person who can or will have access to such data.

Section 52 of Senate Bill No. 53 provides for Internet Libel, Hate Speech, Child Pornography, and Other Expression Inimical to the Public Interest. Internet libel is defined as a public and malicious expression tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead, made on the Internet or on public networks.

While Internet hate speech is defined as “public and malicious expression calling for the commission of illegal acts on an entire class of persons, a reasonably broad section thereof, or a person belonging to such a class, based on gender, sexual orientation, religious belief or affiliation, political belief or affiliation, ethnic or regional affiliation, citizenship, or nationality, made on the Internet or on public networks”

Internet libel is explicit, however internet hate speech seems to be limited and restricted. Meaning of internet hate speech should be broadened and not just limited that will include individuals without distinctions so as to render equal protection of the law.

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