Cyber sex, cam girls now illegal in Philippine

Updated: 21 Sep 2012
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In a new legislation recently signed into law by the country’s president, the Philippines has outlawed cybersex and online sex video chat (you might know them as "cam girls") as part of a comprehensive new anti-cybercrime and libel law.
 
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 defines cybersex as "the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration."

According to the law, the maximum penalty for those convicted is a fine of 250,000 Phillippine pesos ($6,000) and prison time of up to six months.

The law also makes "illegal access," "illegal interception of data," "cybersquatting," and spam illegal; online libel is part of the new law as well. Whether Filipino authorities are going to be trolling cam sites or setting up sting operations remains unclear.

However, the law does make clear that the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) is in charge of enforcement, and that they "shall organize a cybercrime unit or center manned by special investigators to exclusively handle cases involving violations of this Act." Such cases will be prosecuted in "special cybercrime courts manned by specially trained judges to handle cybercrime cases."
 
Libel provision raises questions   
 
The anti-libel provision has many around the world, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, concerned that this law may lead to a chilling effect online. Many fear that the libel provision, which was inserted without public discussion or debate, will be used to attack online speech.

"All of these issues remind us of how [former dictator President Ferdinand Marcos] released decrees and laws that enabled his regime to search and destroy materials he considered subversive. The only difference is, now, the curtailment of free expression has become high-tech," Raymond Palatino, a Congressional representative of a leftist, youth party, told the Manila Standard Today.

What’s also interesting about the law is that it seems to have global reach. The text of the law states that the Regional Trial Court "shall have jurisdiction over any violation of the provisions of this Act including any violation committed by a Filipino national regardless of the place of commission... if any of the elements was committed within the Philippines or committed with the use of any computer system wholly or partly situated in the country, or when by such commission any damage is caused to a natural or juridical person who, at the time the offense was committed, was in the Philippines."
 
SOURCE: arstechnica.com
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