Thursday ∗ 04 Oct 2012

wanted: cyber righteous indignation

notes on day 1 of the Cybercrime Law’s enforcement: or is gov’t paying attention?

1. no, because the senators who are now for amending it are only talking about the libel clause. that is not the only problem with this law.

2. no, because while i’ve done it for my social media accounts and other blogs, i know it is easy to ignore the blacked out sites and the blacked out profile pics and cover photos on twitter and FB. it is after all entirely possible that the government is thinking: yehey! no slogans and images that are painfully about us. black is good! also this: the blackout re SOPA and PIPA was powerful because the major sites (wikipedia, google) supported it. in the Philippines, the more powerful blackout would be of media sites (GMA, Inquirer, Philippine Star, ABS-CBN, Rappler), maybe of big business. the blackout of our individual blogs? it would just mean not having an alternative to those media sites.

3. no, because the speech today of Sec. Lacierda was trying to do classic divide and conquer by invoking #AnonymousPhilippines activities as bad, and as something that we should all stand against. and then to government’s glee, many engaged in the discussion entitled: #AnonymousPhilippines-is-criminal. sadly this already means siding with government about internet freedom, where calling #AnonymousPhilippines out on being illegal and using internet vandalism is to inadvertently insist that there is a “proper forum” for airing our grievances. as marocharim says:

Defacing websites is as proper a forum as it can get for Anonymous Philippines, if only because the group wants its message to be heard. And the same thing goes for every Twitter user, Facebook user, and blogger who has expressed vehement opposition to the Cybercrime Law. The Internet as proper a forum as a “proper forum” could get. If the law affects the online universe, shouldn’t the engagement be online?

4. no, because we must know to raise our glass to #AnonymousPhilippines, as anyone who even goes beyond the whole they-are-criminals! rationale would see that this is not just hacktivism but online activism like no other, where the ideological basis for the takedown of certain sites and not others is clear. also, the message of #AnonymousPhilippines is one that’s against only the libel provision. it is not making a statement for hacking, or its legalization. they are one with us, except that we do not know how to mess with government sites. all we have are words. and our black pics. i have a sinking feeling those things don’t matter as much as we think. see #2. 

5.  no, because while we might be a large collective standing against the Cybercrime Law, as “collective” as we might imagine social media connections can be, we are not united when it comes to engaging with the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this law. but this is precisely what government wants us to do, yes? because engaging with the IRR also inevitably and undoubtedly means agreeing with the Cybercrime Law as it isSec. de Lima surprisingly and unexpectedly thinks this law is not unconstitutional, because they

will determine how the IRR can be used in terms of clarifying, harmonizing those objectionable portions <… and> “lilinawin sa IRR yung standards, yung parameters, yung proseso (We will clear it through the IRR all the standards, parameters and processes).

and yet, without the IRR, Sec. de Lima herself says they can implement the law as it stands. so really, the words in that law are enough. the IRR is fine print that’s being used to bring some of us into the fold, when all of us should be pushing for a temporary restraining order and nothing else. there is no working with government on a Cybercrime Law that we are saying is just wrong. an in-between stand is a compromise that will only benefit the government.

6. no, because we have yet to turn mainstream journalists to our side, unequivocally and categorically stating on nationwide television that they are against the Cybercrime Law, as they also should be against e-libel AND even more so, libel as defined under the Revised Penal Code. this is not about online writers and bloggers and new media, getting away with libel. this is not a question of, if print and mainstream media can be sued for libel, so should all of us writers online. this is about the bigger cause that is decriminalizing libel. and the more common sensical question of: how can a law that is being petitioned for decriminalization, be part of a Cybercrime Law that purportedly handles the “new” and high-tech? only in the Philippines.

it also needs to be said that the defamation law in the US reveals

that it is almost impossible for a writer to be found guilty of libel if the writing deals with opinions rather than facts <…> “Under the First Amendment, there is no such thing as a false idea,” the Supreme Court said in a 1974 libel ruling.

that is not true of our libel laws, or of the Cybercrime Law.

7. no, because we should be looking at righteous indignation beyond our black profile pics and critical tweets and statuses. we need to be looking at what else can be done to make it clear to PNoy, his government, and our fantastic Senators, that we are angry and will not take this sitting down. since we can’t do it #AnonymousPhilippines’ way, i think we should start blogging over and over, as much as we can about this. i think we should call on mainstream media personalities (not just organizations), those names that are on TV everyday, to get with our side because it will benefit them, too.

i think that maybe we should start unfollowing and unliking government accounts on twitter and FB. i don’t know that it will hurt government, but remember how they’ve insinuated that we should follow them on twitter to get informed, forgetting that a majority of Filipinos aren’t even online at this point? of course this needs to be a drastic dip in their number of likes and twitter followers, and even then the effect will be more psychological than anything else.

at the same time, throwing the Cybercrime Law our way and in the same breath saying that it will not be implemented the way we imagine, is already indicative of this psych war that our government and politicians are having with us, one that is about instilling fear and silencing critical thought.

i don’t know about you, but a dislike button never sounded so good.

Posted in: aktibismo, bayan, gobyerno, komentaryo

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