Filipino netizens are turning their Facebook profile photos into black as a sign of protest against the controversial Cybercrime bill.A group called Philippine Internet Freedom Association is currently encouraging more people to switch to the "black" profile photo to support mounting protests against the Cybercrime law. For weeks, the debate has moved away from the political and "industry expert" circles to the citizens who are now taking action against what is perceived to be a draconian law covering the Internet.
As part of a personal protest, some people also carry Facebook status messages that shows a "black bar" that is followed by "[STATUS BLOCKED] (RA NO 10175)." Senator Francis Escudero is set to file amendments to the bill on Tuesday, as he earlier admitted he made a mistake of signing this law. Earlier, Senator Teofisto Guingona who is among the more vocal opponents of the Cybercrime bill, says that the law, signed by President Benigno Aquino III on September 12, violates the Constitution. Senator Guingona hit on the law's vague provisions, including one on online libel, which can supress the citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression. Hacktivists, dubbed Anonymous Philippines, had been defacing government websites to protest the Cybercrime law, that is to take effect on October 3.
Among the government websites that were hit include the National Telecommunications Commission, the Philippine Information Agency, the Food Development Center, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and the Metropolitcan Waterworks and Sewerage System. One of the controversial provisions of the law will throw anyone in jail for 12 years if they're found posting defamatory comments on social networks, which is a tougher penalty versus an existing libel law that applies to "traditional media." According to this Interaskyon story, there will be more government websites that will be attacked due to mounting opposition to the Cybercrime law.