because you have to know that there was nothing as exhilarating, nothing that has gotten me grinning ear-to-ear since this darn Cybercrime Law was signed by our wonderful President, until #AnonymousPhilippines came along and started this gig Wednesday night (around 10PM on my twitter timeline) with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas website. which for a good long two hours or so appeared as this:
it talks about the the libel clause and freedom of expression, much of what we have blogged and tweeted about, have done roundtable discussions on, too. in the course of about three hours or so, #AnonymousPhilippines had hacked seven different sites: three gov.ph sites, two dot.coms, and two dot.org sites. the latter four all connected to government, whether as regional site (in this case DENR’s Region 3 website), or as civil society / ngo / business organization out to help government (i.e., the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the Institute of Development and Econometric Analysis (IDEA).
it was — still is — fantastic.
because #AnonymousPhilippines has showed all of us up. all of us.
this law was signed on September 12. since then there’s been the social good social media summit and the blogfest 3.0 yet there has been no concerted effort and united stand about this law, in fact no transcripts of discussions from these fora or any other discussion by, uh, prominent (?) netizens — quite interesting given the insistence that we are the social media capital of the world. yet it seems we hesitate to use social media to galvanize support against a law that threatens our existence within it.
methinks it’s also because we’ve got our eye on the wrong ball, looking at Sen. Tito Sotto as the culprit, when in fact he put in that law long before he got into the business of plagiarism. maybe it’s also some of us thinking baka OA lang tayo? but there is nothing overacting or overREacting when it comes to freedom of speech, yes? unless of course you silence people with libel, too.
thank heavens for #AnonymousPhilippines, who tells us why internet activism ain’t what we imagine to be social good in social media. in fact, there is nothing about blogging or tweeting or putting up an FB page that has forced government to say anything at this point, because it is nothing like a rally and placards in their faces. now hacking those sites, government and NGO and American business organization, well, that is a placard to their faces. more importantly, it is there for all the world to see.
now i imagine PNoy and USec Quezon and Sec Carandang coming up with rhetoric to the tune of: this is why we need the Cybercrime Law, it’s because of these hackers. that of course would be missing the point. #AnonymousPhilippines could have done this to these sites long ago and since forever. that they are doing it now? is a statement not just about freedom of expression, but more importantly about cybermaturity.
at the core of this libel clause in the Cybercrime Law is the notion that we are immature netizens incapable of doing things right on the internet. at its core is an accusation about how we are irresponsible with words and there are limits to our articulations, in the democratic space that is the internet and a nation that calls itself a democracy. at its core is the notion that we need to be controlled, because we do not know better. sounds a lot like the Pinoy Church really.
#AnonymousPhilippines tells the government that we can and will make the choice to do the right things online, as we would in the real world. hacking those seven sites was not so much a display of power, as it was a display of how people can have control over their mental faculties as netizens, to do things consciously and with a sense of consequences. we know what we’re doing, we are not irresponsible kids out to wreak havoc with no reason other than we can.
meanwhile this hackfest also tells the rest of us that there is no waiting to make a stand, certainly not against something that will curtail our freedoms. that stand should be loud and clear, articulated with urgency to the faces of our leaders. and really, if there’s anything that is quite cyber immature, it is this government and our senators afraid of words and FB pages and statuses and tweets and comments.
bravo #AnonymousPhilippines! you’ve got cyberballs like none of us do.
PS: i think the only thing worse than having voted for this law, is having abstained. read the rest of this senatorial kalokohan over at stuartsantiago.