Thus, all content in such platforms which may contain libelous material may nowbe subject to a criminal suit one degree higher than the penalty imposed on libelunder the RPC.This is a path to the wrong direction at a time when the Supreme Court hadalready made clear steps towards the decriminalization of libel, by makingpreferences on fines instead of prison terms.By imposing a penalty one degree higher than what had been stated in the RPCon libel, longer prison terms are guaranteed for persons found to have publishedor posted material containing libelous remarks online.The new law is thus a threat to the constitutional freedoms of the press andexpression.The relative freedom of publication utilized by online critics of government policies shall now be curtailed.
ACCESS WITHOUT RIGHT
The provision on Illegal access punished
access to the whole or any part of a computer system without right with a fine of at least P200,000 and/or prisionmayor.As many of the employed youth are now working in industries in which they areutilizing computers systems, it is feared that this provision may be exploited byunscrupulous employers to further control and restrict the rights of employeesin their workplaces.For merely accessing internet sites for personal use on work time, the employeemay be subjected to termination and criminal prosecution, on the basis that suchaccess is deemed illegal access punishable under the law.
DUE PROCESS ISSUES
The law may be treading upon unconstitutional waters on the powers beinggranted to law enforcement agencies, which includes preservation, disclosure,search and seizure and destruction of computer data.At the onset, the role of the courts in the grant of warrants relative to thepreservation, disclosure, search and seizure and destruction of computer data isunclear.In the provision preservation of content, while a court order is required for thepreservation of content, the one-time six-month extension of such preservationorder does not require another court order.
As the preservation of data is akin to the garnishment of personal property or anasset preservation order in civil forfeiture proceedings in which the free use anddisposition of private property is restricted, the six-month extension cannot beleft to the mere volition of law enforcement authorities.