Catching up with voyeurism and cybercrime

Summary:The over-the-top coverage by the mainstream media this week on the sex video scandal of a celebrity doctor here has been particularly amusing. Though I subscribe to the idea that it shouldn't have been accorded front-page treatment, I now think that it is perhaps a blessing in disguise that it exploded this way as it has exposed the country's lack of applicable laws that penalize online voyeurism, pornography, trafficking, and other cyber-related crimes.

The over-the-top coverage by the mainstream media this week on the sex video scandal of a celebrity doctor here has been particularly amusing. Though I subscribe to the idea that it shouldn't have been accorded front-page treatment, I now think that it is perhaps a blessing in disguise that it exploded this way as it has exposed the country's lack of applicable laws that penalize online voyeurism, pornography, trafficking, and other cyber-related crimes.

As in the case of infamous "I Love You" virus in the early part of the decade, authorities are now in a quandary on what law to use against the perpetrators of this mess. Last I heard, the actress who was seen in sex video has filed a complaint against her former paramor using a law on "anti-violence against women and their children".

It's a shame that years have passed but the old folks in Congress still haven't recognized the great strides that technology and the Internet have made in the country. The new breed of cybercrimes such as cybersex and online voyeurism is simply beyond the purview of the E-commerce Law, which essentially just penalizes hacking and fraudulent online transactions.

In 2007, I wrote in this blog about a bill on cybercrime pending in Congress. I remember a number of industry groups then had come together to draft their respective recommendations as a way to polish the proposed law. The proposals were supposed to have been submitted to legislators but, as we know now, nothing seemed to have come out of that.

In one of the forums I attended in 2008, Palmer Mallari, the special agent assigned at the anti-computer crimes division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), poured out his frustrations on the apparent foot-dragging of the government to pass the cybercrime bill.

Mallari particularly criticized the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) for its inaction in submitting to lawmakers the amendments culled during a month-long seminar on cybercrime held in late-2007.

I understand that a separate bill in cyber voyeurism has been filed in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The proposed law, which was filed before the current scandal exploded, specifically criminalizes the distribution of sex or indecent videos.

I believe, however, that cyber voyeurism can be classified and subsumed under the cybercrime category. I hope our legislators will just consolidate the cyber voyeurism bill with the long-delayed cybercrime bill so they can focus their efforts in passing a single law that address the crimes brought about by the advent of Internet and modern technology.

Topics: Security, E-Commerce, Emerging Tech, Enterprise 2.0, Government, Government : Asia, Government : US, Social Enterprise, Tech Industry

About

Joel has been a media practitioner since 1996, starting off as a reporter and eventually becoming editor of a pioneering IT trade newspaper in Manila. He is currently one of the content producers of a Manila-based developmental website.

About

Melvin G. Calimag is currently the executive editor of an IT news website in the Philippines. Melvin has been covering the local IT beat for the last 13 years. He is currently a board member at the IT Journalists Association of the Philippines (CyberPress), and also serves as a charter member with the Philippine Science Journalists Associ... Full Bio

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