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Malaysia's answer to SOPA
You can probably see a running trend here. First SOPA and PIPA, then CISPA, and across the pond and past Europe we had the Russian blacklist. And it didn't stop there.
In Malaysia, a new amendment to the Malaysian Evidence Act, dubbed 114A, would mean Web site administrators, Web hosting providers, Internet providers, and those who own a computer or mobile device "on which [content] was posted" would be held accountable for any "illicit" material -- such as defamatory, seditious, or libelous content -- posted online. What if someone steals your smartphone and posted something 'grossly offensive'? The phone owner would be liable. It wasn't fair and people rightfully became angry.
There were claims that the Malaysian government wanted to bring out the new amendments to help silence political opponents during the upcoming election. However, the government denied this. The Internet blacked out in Malaysia just as it did around the world earlier in the year to protest the changes.
Wikileaks discovers 'global spy ring' that wasn't
As part of The Global Intelligence Files released by Wikileaks, the TrapWire system was uncovered. Nobody quite knew what it was, but it was dubbed a "global surveillance system" that could monitor potentially almost anyone at any given time.
In short, the potential for abuse was huge and it became a global concern for ordinary citizens over the course of the week the news came out and more information about the system became available by the whistleblowing organization. However, it wasn't actually as scary as people thought.
It was developed and maintained by a private company and owned by a mysterious parent company -- ergo the two companies avoided public scrutiny and accountability -- but used by other private industry firms along with various governments on both sides of the Atlantic.
However, it turned a lot of the information was the chief executive and other executives boasting about the system's capabilities, which were vastly overblown and overrated at the best of times. The controversy became somewhat of a dud, but it gave a valuable insight into what governments attempt to (and often succeed at) find out about us as ordinary people.
Philippines next in the cybersecurity legislative line
And next, as if you thought there couldn't be any more in terms of cybersecurity and cybercrime legislation, the Philippines was next to crack down on Internet freedom in the country.
Signed into law in September by the country's president, it aims to combat pornography, hacking, identity theft and spamming after the country's law enforcement agencies complained that it did not have the legal or practical tools to combat the rapidly rising rate of cybercrime.
In a statement by the president's spokesperson, the law was defended: "The Cybercrime Act sought to attach responsibilities in cyberspace… freedom of expression is always recognized but freedom of expression is not absolute," showing just where the government's priorities are. Hackers in protest of the law defaced many government Web sites in the process.
However, after only one month, the country's Supreme Court suspended the law while it was determined if it violates civil rights.