Digital Due Process - What the Philippines must have

On March 30 in America, private institutions, civil rights organizations, think tanks, and technology companies such as Google, Microsoft, AOL, ACLU, CFPHR and dozens more launched a coalition called Digital Due Process.

According to Google, the coalition seeks to "update ECPA [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] to provide privacy protections to new and emerging technologies."

Its goals to strenghten and modernize the US online privacy law are as follows:
  • Better protect your data stored online: The government must first get a search warrant before obtaining any private communications or documents stored online;
  • Better protect your location privacy: The government must first get a search warrant before it can track the location of your cell phone or other mobile communications device;
  • Better protect against monitoring of when and with whom you communicate: The government must demonstrate to a court that the data it seeks is relevant and material to a criminal investigation before monitoring when and with whom you communicate using email, instant messaging, text messaging, the telephone, etc.; and
  • Better protect against bulk data requests: The government must demonstrate to a court that the information it seeks is needed for a criminal investigation before it can obtain data about an entire class of users.
Here's a video created by Google to help explain ECPA.

The Digital Due Process is what the Philippines should also have. If the government, with the assistance of the private sector, will ever establish a concrete and strong law to protect e-commerce and to battle cyber crimes, online pornography, privacy intrusions, piracy as well as intellectual property rights violations, the collective action should be patterned on the DDP.

Republic Act (RA) 8792, otherwise known as the E-Commerce Law, which was signed into law on June 14, 2000, protects anyone, individual or company, who uses the computer, internet, mobile phone and other modern day IT-enabled devices within the Philippine territory. This law, however, seems outdated and needs to be restructured and modernized to cope up with emerging technologies and challenges through time.

The 2010 automated elections is fast-approaching. Those who get elected to eventually occupy seats in the executive and legislative branches of government must include in their agenda the crafting of a solid online privacy law. The Philippines is a small country but is rich in IT knowledge and human resources. The government must create a new law or enhance, update existing laws to protect them.