Friday, May 4, 2012

Aliens Defacing Ph Web: Beat the Rap

Disclaimer: This is just a work of a law student in compliance with his subject in Technology and the Law. This is not intended to give any legal advice or whatsoever but for compliance and classroom discussion purposes. This may not serve for any other purpose as claimed herein and warrants nothing regarding the efficiency of the information.   
Aliens Defacing Ph Web: Beat the Rap
The act of intercepting, defacing and/or interrupting website, which happened to one of our primer universities, is violative of the Electronic Commerce Act of 2000, which provides hacking, cracking and piracy as a crime.  Republic Act 8792 Sec. 33 (a) provides that hacking or cracking is the unauthorized access in a computer system including the introduction of computer viruses, stimulated to alter, corrupt, steal, or destroy existing design, which in effect cause break-ins or interruption to computer system, which is punishable by a fine from 100 thousand to maximum parallel to the damage suffered by the owner with imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years.
The intent of the framers of the law is to give protection over the interest of the public in general, as the creation of technology and internet advance in the market across the globe and to provide punishment for those who are to violate. The act of foreign internationals in defacing or interfering with our computer systems or website in the absence of our knowledge and consent is a clear defiance of our law and should never be condoned but condemn by our government. The law is clear where it does not exclude foreign hackers. Ergo, a foreigner may be subjected upon the commission of this act. The law and the Philippine Internet community condemn the action of the hacker or hackers for it impairs the legal rights of the owner to his intellectual property or creation. Hacking per se is not immoral or unlawful for we need hackers to test the viability and  strength of our computer system. However, hacking should never be misunderstood by the contemporary internet genius for it might bring confusion and harm to the entire Internet industry.
Given the fact that foreign nationals may be subjected to this law, a more important issue will arise, as to whether or not our court could have a control over the person of the foreign nationals and as to how would you make them liable? 
To deal with this matter, we have to go back with the issue of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction as defined is the power of the court to try cases. The court cannot however, enforce a judgment against a person or thing over which it has no authority. “Traditionally, a court can gain personal jurisdiction over a party only if the party has a connection to the geographic area in which the court sits.” Thus, the principle of territoriality is a ground to establish personal jurisdiction. There would be no question if the defendant is of the same country. However, trouble lies if the parties involved are of different states, such as the case above.   
There is no Supreme Court decision yet as to this case. It is also difficult to prove the liability of the foreign hackers for it involves the question of personal jurisdiction. Nonetheless, according to Henry Perritt, Dean of Chicago-Kent Law School, “to be effective, jurisdiction over foreign nationals or corporations must rely on international treaties or reciprocal enforcement agreements. The agreements often look at the contacts that the foreign entity has within the sovereign district in order to determine if the sovereign’s interest in the matter is legitimate.” ( Since our country has been a signatory to a Convention on Cybercrime, which goal is to “harmonize laws against malicious hacking, virus writing, fraud and child pornography on the net.” (BBC News.   (2000, December 18).  Cybercrime Treaty Condemned.   Retrieved January 21, 2007 from Our sovereign state enjoys the right as inherent to it to invoke its right internationally to a court of competent jurisdiction regarding cybercrimes. However, if the party involved is not a signatory to this treaty no right can be enforced against him. It is then the vision of this convention that all countries may cooperate in this effect so that the evil sought to be avoided must be prevented. If not, this wrongful act will perpetuate further, where hackers seem to enjoy their wrong doings without fear of its consequences for they can find refuge behind the skirt of its mother nation.

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