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American, Canadian experts
aid RP draft cybercrime bill

Posted: 11:01 PM (Manila Time) | Jan. 13, 2004
By Erwin Lemuel G. Oliva

AMERICAN and Canadian cybercrime law experts are now aiding the Philippines in drafting a "comprehensive" cybercrime measure as part of a larger effort to promote cooperation between developing and developed countries.

Representatives of the Asia Pacific Economic Council e-Security Task Group were in the country to share experiences and best practices related to cybercrime legislations, according to Richard Downing, senior counsel of the United States Department of Justice criminal division during a briefing in Manila.

The cooperation between countries is a "first-step" in addressing cybercrime that respects no boundaries between nations since it is perpetrated in a virtual world, added Downing.

"We need to create a comprehensive framework for cybercrime legislations. At the same time, we need to revisit some laws because of cross-boundary issues," he said.

The Philippine cybercrime measure aims to penalize computer-related activities like cracking computer systems and writing and distributing viruses and other acts such as online fraud, extortion, distribution of child pornography, and cyberterrorism.

Meanwhile, Downing said that the APEC e-Security Task Group's goal is to work on ways for member-countries to cooperate quickly -- through a 24 by 7 network -- when online crimes happen.

The Philippines through the National Bureau of Investigation is now part of the 24x7 Network, according to Joel Michael Schwarz, trial attorney of the computer crime and intellectual property section of the US Department of Justice.

"In the end, countries with strong intellectual property and cybercrime laws have a stronger case to attract IT investors," Schwarz added.

Also during the same briefing, lawyer Claro Parlade, a member of the legal and regulatory committee of the Information Technology and E-commerce Council, said that Senators Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and Francisco Pangilinan would likely sponsor a joint cybercrime measure.

"We're going to give (the cybercrime bill) a shot amid the upcoming elections," added Parlade.

ITECC has drafted a cybercrime measure that has already been approved by the science and technology committee of the House of Representatives last year.

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