By JJ Disini
Philippine Daily Inquirer
9:49 pm | Saturday, October 6th, 2012
NETIZENS, bloggers and journalists hold a rally outside the Supreme Court to protest Republic Act No. 10175, also known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act. RAFFY LERMA
Recently, the President signed into law two key pieces of legislation—the Cybercrime Prevention Act and the Data Privacy Act, both of which were meant to assist the development of the business process outsourcing industry in the country.
As late as last year, the Philippines reigned as the country with the biggest number of seats in the call center industry, as the BPO industry grew in terms of total revenue, foreign exchange inflow and employment generation.
It is believed that the BPO industry needs the Cybercrime Act (the “Act”) to respond to the demands of foreign clients for a strong legal environment that can secure their data from being stolen and sold.
As early as 2000, the E-Commerce Act (ECA) already punished hacking but the penalties were deemed too light. The persons convicted served no jail time if they opted to plead guilty in exchange for probation in lieu of imprisonment.
Law enforcement agencies also faced various roadblocks when investigating cybercrime incidents. Even during emergency situations, service providers were reluctant to cooperate with law enforcement officers, citing the need to protect subscriber privacy.
Theoretically, search warrants would have addressed that problem but they were difficult to procure and involved a lengthy process that would have given cybercrime offenders enough time to delete precious data and cover their tracks.
In cross-border cybercrime incidents, law enforcement efforts were even more challenging since foreign governments were not equipped to respond quickly to requests for assistance and no international framework was in place to address cross-border investigations and prosecution.
To be sure, no one