Philippines sets up unit to investigate cybercrime violators

Country's National Bureau of Investigation to set up computer crime unit to aid investigators in determining and taking legal action if citizens violate Cybercrime Act of 2012.

The Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has created a computer crime unit to determine and arrest citizens who violate the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

According to Philippine Information Agency on Tuesday, Martini Cruz, an NBI supervising agent said the  cybercrime act recognizes the important role played by information and communication industries such as content production, telecommunications, broadcasing electronic commerce and data processing, and how it contributes to the country's social and economic development.

However, there is also a need to safeguard the integrity and availability of technologies that accelerate the delivery of information such as computers, communication systems, networks and databases, he explained.

As such, the establishment of the Computer Crime Unit will aid investigators in determining see if there are violations comitted by online users, especially social networking users, Cruz noted.

The crime unit is also working with the legal department of Facebook in California to quickly conclude such cases, and ensure they have well-trained and capable employees to respond and investigate them, he added.

For example, when a Facebook user posts harsh words or obscene videos to their account, the unit will check the Facebook of the complainant to determine if the offenses made are valid and subject to cybercrime offenses, he said, adding that once proven, they will further undertake a thorough investigation.

"Persons found guilty will be imprisoned and punished with a corresponding fine depending on the length or degree of his or her case," he added.

This comes after the Philippines' Cybercrime Prevention Act had been suspended for 120 days following restraining order against it by the Supreme Court in October. The law had come under fire for its vague definition of online libel, violation of personal rights and tough legal penalties for Internet defamation .