Regulating Internet Freedom

One of the earlier bills filed in the 16th Congress is the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom or MCIF, filed by strong women advocates in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kim Cojuangco (NPC-1st Dist, Pangasinan) and firebrand Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in the Senate.

One of the earlier bills filed in the 16th Congress is the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom or MCIF, filed by strong women advocates in the House of Representatives by Rep. Kim Cojuangco (NPC-1st Dist, Pangasinan) and firebrand Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago in the Senate.

Filed in the 15th Congress as SN 3327, the measure seeks to establish a comprehensive framework for the administration of Internet and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the country.  Santiago again refilled the measure, SN 53 in the 16th Congress and a counterpart bill was also filed in the HOR.  Apart from Internet freedom, it also covers cybercrime prevention and law enforcement, cyber defense and national cyber security.

The measure provides for Internet rights and freedoms to include promotion of open network; network neutrality; universal access; access to devices; freedom of speech and expression; freedom to innovate and create without permission,; right to privacy, security  of data; protection of intellectual property and the promotion of the development of Internet, network and information and communication infrastructure.

MCIF limits the duties of state agencies and instrumentalities to oversight, cybercrime law enforcement, cyber defense and cyber security, ICT infrastructure development, human resources, skills and technology development, ICT education and IPR protection in cyberspace.

The measure designates the National Telecommunications Commission as the implementing agency and amends its charter to cover principally the network and the Internet.  It further reorganizes and renames the Department of Transportation and Communications to the Department of Information and Communications Technology or DICT.  The bill also amends the Public Telecommunications Policy Act on local Internet service providers, universal Internet connection service, uncompensated bypass or overlapping operations, fair and equitable revenue sharing, no separate franchise requirement needed for a cable TV franchise that also provides local internet connection, network or data transmission services, non limitation of the operation of internet exchanges, internet data center, and gateway facility.

The much-debated Valued Added Service (VAS) is again given a shot in the arm  by ensuring its use and development provided the service is solely dependent on existing networks being operated and maintained by at least one other telecommunications entity.  It further provides that high-speed or high volume Internet connection shall not be classified as VAS.

A whole array on cybercrimes and other prohibited acts have also been included from network sabotage, security of data and networks, violation of data privacy and security, illegal and arbitrary seizure, infringement of IPR, fraud via ICT, ICT enabled prostitution and trafficking in persons,  including child prostitution and child trafficking, Internet libel, hate speech, Internet child abuse, and cyber terrorism.  Penalties for specific violations of the provisions of the MCIF are also clearly provided, covering imprisonment and fines.

Cybercrime courts are likewise created and vested with exclusive original jurisdiction.  It likewise detailed the national cyber security and protection of government information and communications technology infrastructure.

The bill, as filed, was a product of concerned netizens-composed of software designers, IT specialists, academics, bloggers, engineers, lawyers, human rights advocates. The group formulated the MCIF through discussions in an open Facebook group, email, Google Hangout teleconferences, and social media channels like Twitter.

 

File: http://www.scribd.com/doc/155247714/1446312119

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