Philippines E-Commerce Law to Penalize Hackers

MANILA (06/15/2000) - Philippines President Joseph Estrada Wednesday signed the E-commerce Act of 2000 as part of his administration's campaign to open the country's economy to global electronic commerce and information and communication technology-related industries.

In his speech before IT leaders and members of Congress, the President also said the law would strengthen the country's alliance with the global community in the fight against cybercrime, noting that the new law carries penalties for hacking.

President Estrada acknowledged that the country had suffered a setback after hackers, suspected to be from the Philippines, released the ILOVEYOU e-mail virus that caused billions of U.S. dollars in damage worldwide.

Earlier this year, local law enforcement officials were stumped over what to do with suspects in the ILOVEYOU virus case, since there was then no specific law here against hacking or the spread of computer viruses. The new law provides fines and penalties for computer hackers: three years' imprisonment and a minimum fine of 100,000 pesos (US$2,364).

Trade and Industry Secretary Manuel Roxas said the new law should end the problems of law enforcers and investigators, who had to scour the statute books to try to find an appropriate law that would punish computer hackers to no avail. The new law, however, cannot be applied retroactively to the suspects in the ILOVEYOU case.

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