Up to telcos to block adultery website
MANILA, Philippines—The government can only “persuade” telecommunications firms and Internet service providers to block a controversial website that promotes extramarital affairs, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said on Wednesday.
De Lima said this was because the “take-down clause” in Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 was among the provisions declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court last February.
“We can appeal to the telcos to consider banning sites like that. I have ordered a research if there is any provision that can provide legal cover for us to compel telcos to precisely do that because it tends to encourage illegal acts,” she told reporters in an interview.
De Lima said she believes the website’s promotion of adultery, which is illegal under Philippine laws, is enough reason for it to be blocked.
“Adultery remains punishable under the Revised Penal Code. From what we see regarding that website, it encourages extramarital affairs, adulterous acts,” she explained.
Last week, De Lima said she would work to block the dating site Ashley Madison for allegedly facilitating adultery or concubinage, both punishable with up to six months in jail in the Philippines.
The Canada-based firm, which has the slogan “Life is short. Have an affair,” recently launched their Philippine website which reportedly had already attracted thousands of subscribers.
“The telcos will have to do their part to ensure that illegal content and websites that are used to drive illicit conduct are not used,” De Lima sid.
She said the rise of “antifamily” websites should also spur Congress to amend RA 10175 to provide exemptions to the take-down ban.
Section 19 of RA 10175 authorizes the Department of Justice to restrict of block access to computer data that is prima facie found to be in violation of the law.
De Lima said she instructed the DOJ-Office of Cybercrime to see if “proper refinements” and “amendatory proposals” can be made regarding Section 19.
The Supreme Court had struck down the provision for being violative of the constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression and against unreasonable searches and seizures.
The magistrates criticized Section 19 for precluding any judicial intervention, adding, “[F]or an executive officer to seize content alleged to be unprotected without any judicial warrant, it is not enough for him to be on the opinion that such content violates some law, for to do so would make him judge, jury and executioner all rolled into one.”
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