Anti-Selfie Bill in Congress: Really?

Anti-Selfie Bill in Congress? It seems people have been misinformed about House Bill 4807 (Protection Against Personal Intrusion Act).


HB 4807 is authored by congressmen Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro), Maximo Rodriguez Jr. (Abante Mindanao), Gwendolyn Garcia (Cebu), Linabelle Ruth Villarica (Bulacan), Jose Atienza (Buhay), and Leopoldo Bataoil (Pangasinan).

The proposed law, which is up for 3rd reading in the plenary, defines "intrusion of personal privacy" as "any person who willfully intrudes into the personal privacy of another, without the consent of that person and with the intent to gain or profit therefrom, shall be civilly liable to the offended party."

The following acts are considered intrusive, per HB 4807:
  • capturing by a camera or sound recording instrument of any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of the person;
  • trespassing on private property in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of any person;
  • capturing any type of visual image, sound recording or other physical impression of a person or family activity through the use of a visual or auditory enhancement device even when no physical trespass has occurred, when the visual image, sound recording or other physical impression could not have been captured without a trespass if no enhancement device was used.
According to ABS-CBN news, representative Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna said: "HB 4807 will create a chilling effect on media and would especially affect citizen journalism. It would punish with civil suit taking photos,video or even audio recording anything claimed as a personal/ family matter even of public officials and personalities."

He added: "Even an innocuous selfie with public figures at the background would be liable for 'intrusion of privacy'. This is absurd and we urge our colleagues to reconsider."

The statement quickly sparked an outrage online.

Some netizens called the proposed measure "stupid," saying it should neither be given priority nor passed as there are more serious problems in the country that need to be addressed.

Critics reportedly said the supposed Anti-Selfie Bill has major implications on press freedom and even social media.

However, one of the authors of the proposed law was surprised of the overwhelming reaction.

In an interview on Thursday, August 28, congressman Rodriguez said the bill does not even mention the word "selfie."

"Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggaling 'yung notion na anti-selfie ito. You read the bill, wala ni isang mention about selfie," the lawmaker said, according to

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Our take on this is that usage of the term "Anti-Selfie Bill" and spreading of false information about it must stop.

The passage of HB 4807 should not be fast-tracked. More time is needed to study the proposed measure and analyze the possible effects if it becomes a law.

The proponents and their colleagues at the House of Representatives must ensure that press freedom is upheld. The lawmakers should put everyone concerned, except the violators, in a win-win situation.

Image courtesy of bplanet at