Philippines Senate Passes Cybersex Crime Bill

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines Senate has passed a bill penalizing cybersex and other online crimes.

Cybersex, under Senate Bill 2796, is defined as people engaged in "the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system."

Violators can be imprisoned for 6-12 years, or fined between $4,500 and $23,000.

Child porn, meanwhile, carries penalties specified under the country's Child Pornography Act of 2009.

The proposed bill also covers spamming, llegally accessing a computer system, intercepting a computer system, deleting and altering computer data, and "cyber-squatting," or acquiring of an Internet domain name in bad faith to profit, mislead, destroy reputations, and preventing others from registering the name, especially if it is identical to an existing trademark or another person.

Using and making available devices, software, passwords, and other means for committing cybercrimes, computer-related forgery, or altering or deleting computer data resulting in inauthentic data and computer fraud, or the unauthorized input, alteration, or deletion of computer data to cause damage with a fraudulent intent are also include in the measure.

A National Cybersecurity Coordinating Council was formed to implement the national plan and monitor suspected cases.

The Council will be chaired by the executive director of the Department of Science and Technology's Information and Communications Technology Office.

Other members include the director of the National Bureau of Investigation, the chief of the Philippine National Police, the head of the Department of Justice's Office of Cybercrime, and representatives from the private sector and academia.