A lawmaker has filed the proposed Magna Carta of Internet Users, which prohibits government intelligence agencies from conducting Internet surveillance against any person without a court order.
Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan) said House Bill 6818 declares as unlawful the monitoring or analyzing of data by an Internet service provider without prior knowledge and consent of the user or subscriber to ensure the privacy of Internet users.
The bill prohibits internet surveillance and data collection on users by agencies and instrumentalities of the State without securing a court order; identification of Internet users and disclosure of their communications data without a court order; and accessing communications data by persons other than public authorities that are directly involved in criminal investigations and criminal proceedings.
According to Palatino, Internet is one of the most powerful instruments of the 21st century for increasing transparency to ensure access to information and facilitate active citizen participation in building democratic societies.
“The advancement of information and communications technology has brought many advantages as well as challenges to its users and the authorities regulating its use. The creation of the Internet is a landmark development that has caused a revolutionary effect to a majority of the world’s population as it now affects almost all aspects of human life,” Palatino said.
Palatino also said the Internet has greatly affected the social, cultural, political and economic development of the world. It has changed the ways that transactions are done, he said.
“One can now do real time business with someone who is half-way around the world. Families can easily communicate with their loved ones who work abroad. People are now more involved in the formulation of policies by the government and even the implementation of government programs can now be monitored by the citizens through the internet,” Palatino said.
“However, unscrupulous persons have also adapted to the development of information and communications technologies and have found ways to exploit internet-based opportunities and take advantage of other people by committing crimes through online and computer platforms,” Palatino added.
Under the measure to be known as the “Internet Freedom Act,” Filipino internet subscribers shall enjoy basic rights that include universal access to the internet; the right to gather and participate in shared learning, creation and exchange of ideas through online activities; right to benefit from their ideas, creations and publications on the internet, including but not limited to monetary remunerations and credit for the work done; right to quality of connection; freedom of expression and right to privacy.