European Hackers shutdown Philippine Weather Websites – Anti Cyber Martial Law

Malacañang Palace appeals to hackers to cease attacks

European hackers have shut down Philippine government websites in an apparent protest against new cybercrime laws, officials say.

Hackers incensed by the Philippines' controversial cybercrime law have attacked government sites (Saturday October 6, 2012) that deliver emergency information during natural disasters, an official said Saturday.

Some sites have been unavailable for several hours, The Philippine Star reported. The targets included the sites of the National Bureau of Investigation and both houses of Congress.

President Benigno Aquino's spokeswoman Abigail Valte appealed for a stop to the attacks, on the websites and social media accounts of the weather service, the earthquake and tsunami monitoring service and the social welfare agency.

Valte did not disclose the extent of the damage, if any. All the sites she mentioned appeared to be up and working on Saturday afternoon.

"Many people are being affected by this," she said.

"We are aware of the opposition to the National Cybercrime Prevention Act. There are other ways to express opposition to it," she said in an appeal broadcast on government radio.

The Philippines sits on the "ring of fire" of tectonic activity that generates earthquakes around the Pacific, and is also regularly hit by typhoons, with the agencies' online arms providing citizens with disaster data and advice.

Valte reported the attacks a day after Aquino set out a broad defense of the cybercrime law, which seeks to stamp out offences such as fraud, identity theft, spamming and child pornography.

But it has sparked a storm of protests from critics who say it will severely curb Internet freedoms and intimidate netizens into self-censorship.

One of its most controversial elements mandates much longer jail sentences for people who post defamatory comments online than those who commit libel in traditional media.

It also allows the government to monitor online activities, such as e-mail, video chats and instant messaging, without a warrant, and to close down websites it deems to be involved in criminal activities.

The Supreme Court is hearing petitions to have the law declared illegal.

Aquino, whose mother led the "people power" revolution that toppled the military-backed Ferdinand Marcos regime in 1986, said he remained committed to freedom of speech.

But he said those freedoms were not unlimited.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima ordered the hackers' arrest based on new laws.

"They will trace who the hackers are and apprehend them. For this purpose, they need to coordinate with the intelligence units of other investigative bodies," De Lima said.

The hackers face six to 12 years in prison if they are convicted. But Radio Australia reported they appear to be based in Europe.

De Lima said the new laws have a legitimate purpose: "The purpose of the law is to protect our citizens from unscrupulous and abusive actions of misfits and the wicked in society.

'Repeal Cybercrime Law' (Media Statement - Access)

Tens of millions of internet users in the Philippines woke up to a new reality: Sharing a link, clicking 'Like' on Facebook, or retweeting a message could land you 12 years in jail.¹

The Cybercrime Prevention Act, which just came into effect, is so broad and loophole-ridden that a wide range of online activity could be considered libelous. Even if you don't write the material, just sharing it with someone online could land you in prison.

In the face of this unjust law, Filipinos have been protesting in the streets and online to stand up for their rights. An alliance of organizations, bloggers, media, and everyday citizens have come together and brought international attention to their cause, and have reached a tipping point.²

That's why they have come to us for help. With elections just around the corner, we've been told that many politicians are downright scared of a national and international backlash, giving us the opportunity to convince them to junk this law for good. And we know there's nothing like an election to get politicians to listen.

Follow the link below to call on lawmakers to stand up for freedom of expression, and repeal the CyberCrime Prevention Act. We'll deliver your signatures to Filipino lawmakers next week so they know where the world stands.

Alarmingly, an accused citizen can't even use intent or good faith as a defense against this horrible law -- meaning that the government has unrestricted and unchecked power to throw whomever they like in jail. Not to mention, the law allows real-time data to be tracked, violating the privacy of internet users.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday is slated to take up the constitutionality of the law, and silent, non-violent protests will be held on Oct. 9 -- called Black Tuesday. With broad and unjust cybercrime laws being enacted around the world, we need to fight them one by one. That's why it's critical that the international community stands up on Black Tuesday. Start by following the link below:

While we respect the impartiality of the court, this gives us the perfect moment to rally to protect free of expression. Indeed, many Filipinos online have begun sending around memes to show they are not afraid to stand up unjust laws that attempt to silence free speech.³

This defiant and democratic spirit has been seen before. Over 25 years ago, Filipinos fought and won to overcome martial law and institute a democratic government. But what makes this law's passage curious is that President Aquino is the son of Corazon Aquino, former president and leader of the opposition party that restored democracy in the Philippines in 1986. So many Filipinos are left wondering why the son of the leader who fought for their rights is allowing free speech to be taken away.

With all this coming to a head, we aren't just taking a stance against a law, but are standing up for democratic values bravely won not too long ago. Let's remind the president just what so many Filipinos fought for. Sign the petition by clicking the link below, and join the millions of Filipinos who are fighting for their right to freely speak their mind.

In the words of Dakila, our ally in the Philippines, "We say, never again to martial law -- cyber or not."

For a free internet,

The Access Team

GMA News, Mindanao Examiner, UPI Radio Australia, Agence France-Presse

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