Many people do not think twice about “liking” their friends’ posts on Facebook. Consenting adults engage in cybersex regularly. Millions more look at legitimate, legal pornography every day. Still more feel free to criticize many things on the internet, ranging from a dislike of a certain celebrity to politics. If you do any of these things in the Philippines, you now risk being sent to jail for it.

On Sept. 12, President Benigno Aquino III signed into law the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which defines several new acts of crimes committed online, including, among others, “cybersex,” identity theft, hacking, spamming, and pornography.

“If you click ‘like,’ you can be sued, and if you share, you can also be sued,” said Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, one of the lawmakers who voted against the passage of the law.

“Even Mark Zuckerberg can be charged with cyber-libel,” the senator said.

The provision, according to Guingona, is so broad and vague that it’s not even clear who should be liable for a given statement online. And if you’re found guilty, get ready to spend up to 12 years in prison.

“Who is liable? It isn’t clear. The one who made the original post? The ones who share? The ones who tweet? Even you, if you post a simple, ‘hehehe,’ right? Does that mean you agree?” Guingona said.

Many Filipinos are ignoring the new law and going online to protest and criticize the government for its actions. Those opposed to the law say that it threatens free speech online. In response, several hackers have also defaced government websites while others have filed petitions in the supreme court to have the law overturned. There are also those who voted for the law that are now having second thoughts.

At least one senator who voted for the law, Francis Escudero, has acknowledged having glossed over the controversial provision and said it was a mistake.

As with politics in every country, the libel section was added at the last minute. Vicente Sotto III, who added the section because he doesn’t want people questioning his behavior.

“Yes, I did it. I inserted the provision on libel. Because I believe in it and I don’t think there’s any additional harm,” Sotto was quoted as saying in the local news website Interaksyon.com.

Little surprise there, though. Sotto may actually have an axe to grind with the Filipino online community after coming under fire for allegedly plagiarizing an American blogger and the late Sen. Robert Kennedy for his speeches against a controversial family planning and reproductive health bill.

While the government has said that they condemn the hacking of their websites, they welcome any protest done in the proper forum. The problem is they’ve restricted free speech with this law, so where is one to legally protest and who says what forum is proper?

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