Anonymous fights for Internet freedom in Philippines

In the Philippines hacktivists associated with the Internet collective known as Anonymous are fighting for Internet freedom and against the threat of Internet censorship.  Hacking and defacing multiple websites and social media accounts belonging to Philippine government agencies, Anonymous is protesting the newly-enacted Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. In a video statement released on the 30th of September, Anonymous stated the follwoing:

“The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 poses serious threats to Internet freedom, the right to privacy and other essential civil liberties including the freedom of speech, expression, and the press.”

Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is a Philippine Republic Act approved on 12 September 2012. It aims to address legal issues concerning online interactions. Among the cybercrime offenses included in the bill are cybersquatting, cybersex, child pornography, identity theft, illegal access to data and libel.While hailed for penalizing illegal acts done via the internet that were not covered by old laws, the act has been criticized for its provision on criminalizing libel, which is perceived to be a curtailment in freedom of expression.

Anonymous claims the new CyberCrime legislation “effectively ends the Freedom of Expression in the Philippines,” claiming “the bill basically says it can imprison anyone who commits libel either by written messages, comments, blogs, or posts in sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or any other comment-spaces of other social media in the Internet,”

Government websites that were hacked and defaced on Monday include sites belonging to the National Telecommunications Commission, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute, Maritime Training Council, Maritime Industry Authority, the DOST One-Stop Information Site, and the Food Development Center (NFA). In addition to the websites of national government agencies, the websites of the Batangas provincial government, the City of San Fernando, Pampanga, and Vigan, Ilocos Sur were also hacked.

The Twitter account of the Department of Social Welfare and Services was also hacked on “Bloody Monday”, and Anonymous hacktivists left the following tweet:

“We are Anonymous, we do not forgive, we do not forget, united as one, divided by NONE, EXPECT US!”