Supreme Court decides on the Cybercrime Prevention Act

February 20, 2014

The Supreme Court has come out with its decision on the validity of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act. In its decision penned by Associate Justice Roberto Abad, the High Court found most of the law to be consistent with the Constitution and only found the following provisions to be unconstitutional:

  • Section 4 (c)(3) (unsolicited commercial communications);
  • Section 12 ( real-time collection of traffic data);
  • Section 19 (restricting or blocking access to computer data); also known as the take-down clause as it authorized the Department of Justice to restrict computer data on the basis of prima facie or initially observed evidence.

Section 5, which is aiding or abetting in the commission of a cybercrime and to the attempt to commit a cybercrime, was declared unconstitutional only in the following cases: child pornography, unsolicited commercial communications, and online libel and will apply to all other cybercrimes outlined in the law. Moreover, Section 7 which provides that apart from prosecution under the law, a cyber criminal can also be prosecuted for same offenses under the Revised Penal Code is unconstitutional only in relation to sections 4(c)(4) (online libel) and 4(c)(2) (child pornography).

As to the provisions on online libel, the SC said that this is constitutional but only the original author of the material shall be held liable. Those who share, like, retweet or reply to the libelous material will not be prosecuted.

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