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Hacking: It's Not Fun in the Philippines

The hacktivists are on the move!
by Neps Firmalan | Sep 27, 2012
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Local government sites, humanda na kayo.

In a move that showed us just how weak our online security can be, no less than SEVEN government portals were hacked earlier today. The culprit? The local arm of Anonymous, a hacktivist group that has achieved notoriety for similar exploits abroad. See screenshot below.

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No laughing matter

This is not just any plain hacking incident, this is a hacking spree done with an ultimatum, and its target is no other than the newly-minted Anti-cybercrime Law of the Philippines. All of the victimized websites experienced similar fates: Their landing pages were changed to all-black wallpapers that remind us of V for Vendetta, complete with Anonymous' logo and hard rock music playing in the background.

The beef

So what's Anonymous' problem with our own version of a cybercrime-busting law? Basically, the group thinks it can be used to threaten freedom of expression online. The part about libel is being given special focus, with Anonymous calling it old and a hindrance to the development of a true cybercrime law that's made for the people. They're calling for a revision coming from our lawmakers. Here's the complete copy of the hacktivists' statement:

The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber-history of the Philippines, and the language of the bill is cunningly designed to make you think it only applies to individuals who are deep in cyber-technology and doesn’t apply to everyone, but some part of the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet.

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New technologies give us new opportunities to connect with a lot of people not only in this country but all over the world. They can also provide us with a medium through which our political, public and even private views can have an immediate and direct impact on individuals, communities and even countries. It is just so disappointing that our government, in adopting our 80-year-old antiquated libel laws to the Cybercrime Law, again seems to have retarded our march with the rest of the world with respect to giving full force to the people’s freedom of expression. We ask for a revision of the said bill for the betterment of the Filipino denizens.

The victims so far

The following sites were on the receiving end of Anonymous' wrath. Some of them have been fixed while others are still waiting for some virtual remedies:

Here's to hoping...

We're all for a cybercrime law although, as we've said in the past, we wish it to be free of loopholes and not something that can be abused for power tripping. Let's see who budges first. Parang telenovela lang, no?

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