July 16-31, 2021

The Digital Rights Roundup, published by the Foundation for Media Alternatives, contains regular updates on what Filipinos need to know about their digital rights.

Philippines’ internet speed faster in June

The June 2021 Mobile and Fixed Broadband Internet Speeds report of Ookla Speedtest said the Philippines’s average download speed increased from 58.73 Megabits per second (Mbps) in May to 66.55 Mbps in June, as part of the preparation for the global digital economy. Read more here

Telcos portability tests a success; Sept. 30 launch set

The completion of the initial interoperability tests of Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and DitoTelecommunity prompts a closer step to the possibility for Filipinos to conveniently shift between service providers while keeping their mobile number, which is under the Mobile Number Portability Act. Read more here

Meralco telco unit, Cignal TV formally launch RED Fiber broadband

Meralco telco unit Radius Telecoms and home satellite TV operator Cignal TV have formally launched RED Fiber broadband. Red Fiber has no plans of competing with current broadband providers as it intends to tap a market that comprises people who do not have a broadband connection yet. It is available in Mega Manila, Bulacan, Clark,  Rizal, Laguna, Tagaytay, Cavite, and Cebu. Read more here

PH gov’t activates online loan facility to help small firms restart

MSMEs may apply for interest-free, collateral-free government loans through the Bayanihan CARES (Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises). Loans under the program range from P10,000-P5 million, depending on the MSME’s sales and business assets figures before the pandemic. 31,700 MSME loan applications have been accepted, which amounts to a total of P4.84 billion. Read more here.

CHR starts own probe on killing of lawyer, husband in Davao City

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has begun its probe on the shooting of a couple, Gilda Mahinay Sapie and Muhaimen Mohammed Sapie, who were hosts of the radio program “Justice Redeemer” in Davao City. The radio program discusses legal issues and political matters, and also provides free legal advice. Read more here

Body cams: PNP seeks dialogue with SC justices

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar calls on Supreme Court magistrates to hold another dialogue concerning some of the provisions on the use of body cameras in serving arrest and search warrants. The PNP voiced issues and concerns with using a cellphone as an alternative recording device. Read more here.

Kiko sues Google PH exec, YouTubers over ‘defamatory’ videos

Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan took legal action against the top executive of Google Philippines and the unidentified individuals behind two YouTube channels for cyber libel which violates Republic Act No. 10175, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The videos contained false accusations of physically abusing his wife, singer-actress Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan. Read more here

Robredo deplores gov’t-backed trolls

Following the revelation of Senator Panfilo Lacson about a government official who established two troll farms, Vice President Leni Robredo welcomed Senate Resolution No. 768, which aims to investigate “state-funded trolls farms“ that spread misinformation. 12 senators signed the resolution. Read more here.

No face-to-face activities during remedial classes

The Department of Education (DepEd) reiterated remedial classes will continue to utilize self-learning modules in printed or digital format as face-to-face activities are still prohibited. Remedial classes are given to students who obtain a grade lower than 75 as an intervention and must pass the remedial classes to be able to be promoted to the next level. Read more here

300 journalists, media groups unite vs fake news in run-up to 2022 polls

Over 300 journalists and 40 news outlets have signed the Election 2022 Pledge for Journalists and Media Organizations, a pledge to present fact-based reporting and aid in protecting the integrity of the 2022 national and local elections. One of their commitments is to put surveys into context by substantiating the polling company’s performance record and procedures. Read more here.

SC, SaferKidsPH collaborate vs. online abuse

During an online meeting with the Australia-backed SaferKidsPH Consortium, the Supreme Court affirmed its commitment to protecting children as a result of the misuse of technology in abusing marginalized minors and the increasing cases of online abuse and child exploitation since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Read more here

Chavit Singson’s LCS Group rolls out first activated common tower

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) examined the first activated shared telco tower by Chavit Singson’s LCS Group. The tower is part of the DICT’S Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure (PTTI) Policy that aims to advance the development of independent tower companies. Read more here

Telcos expect at least 1 million subscribers to move networks

Telecommunications Connectivity Incorporated (TCI) expects at least 1 million subscribers to shift between networks once mobile number porting is put into practice in the Philippines on September 30 through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) Act signed in 2019. Dito Telecommunity, Globe Telecom, and Smart Communications have invested P120 million for MNP. Read more here

SC launches online payment for small claims cases

The Supreme Court (SC) launched the Judiciary ePayment for Small Claims, the online payment of legal fees for small claims cases after the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the SC and Easypay Global EMI Corp. (EGEC). All Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts can now receive payments for small claims. Read more here

BSP halts operations of Lyka, orders registration as payment firm

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has directed Lyka, a social media platform that provides payments service, to halt operations as it has not registered with the central bank. BSP governor Benjamin Diokno classifies Lyke as an operator of payment service (OPS), which prompts the need for it to register with the central bank under Republic Act (RA) 11127 or the National Payments System Act. Read more here

NUJP: Radio commentator shot in Cebu

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reported the shooting of a radio commentator in a Cebu-based station in front of their radio station after he finished his program. NUJP Cebu condemned the crime and mentioned the normalization of attacks against journalists and media workers as such cases are increasing. Read more here.

Three Koreans engaged in online gambling racket, prostitution of Pinays nabbed by BI

Three Koreans involved in operating online gaming sites in Pampanga were caught in the act by Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents. One of the aliens has been held accountable for participating in online sexual exploitation and prostitution in 2014. While waiting for their deportation, all three aliens are placed in custody at the BI warden facility in Taguig City. Read more here

Australian senator warns about DITO’s China connection

An Australian senator gave a warning that China may use China Telecom and DITO Telecommunity as “Trojan horses” for spying and penetrating the infrastructure of smaller nations in the Indo-China region, together with the armed forces of the Philippines and its allies the United States and Australia. Read more here.

Toolkit to detect NSO’s Pegasus spyware released

Amnesty International issued a forensic methodology report on determining if one is affected by Pegasus and it also launched a Mobile Verification Toolkit to detect Pegasus spyware on iOS and Android. Read more here.

Manila City COVID-19 vaccination website vulnerable to data breach, a resident warns

A Manila resident warned about the Manila local government COVID-19 vaccine registration website that may be at risk from security breach. He lodged a complaint concerning possible data privacy violations to the local government of Manila and forwarded it to the Department of Information Communication Technology. Read more here

Fact Checked: Filipinos Were Not Banned from Axie Infinity’s Discord Server

The news of play-to-earn online video game Axie Infinity banning Filipino users from its Discord server spread across the Internet. However, it appears to be misinformation to encourage hate and discredit the game. Read more here.

DICT on top of poll automation – Sotto

Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who confirmed to run with Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson in next year’s polls, said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has guaranteed him the integrity of the automated 2022 elections by having the DICT on top of poll automation. Read more here

Senator flags reported cyber espionage by ‘Chinese-speaking actors’ ahead of polls

Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the government to look into the reported cyber espionage attacks executed against internet users in the Philippines, warning China might utilize the same strategies to obstruct the 2022 elections. She was referring to a report from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky that identified 1,400 victims of the cyber attack on Philippine users. Read more here.

Comelec OFOV now accepts, processes applications online

Overseas Filipinos with existing voting records and registered overseas voters may now transact with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) online under Resolution No. 10709 to make frontline services of the OFOV available to qualified overseas Filipino citizens. Read more here.

SC junks petition against Comelec over voting receipt implementation

The Supreme Court junked a petition by election watchdogs against the Commission on Elections (Comelec) over the poll body’s implementation of voting receipts, a print-out of the voter’s choices for verification that the votes were input accurately, during the 2019 elections. Read more here

Anti-piracy drive targets design and engineering firms in PH, SE Asia

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) is engaging in a new anti-software piracy campaign in Southeast Asia, with 20,000 potential design and engineering companies for BSA’s “Legalize and Protect” initiative that was launched in 2019. BSA adds over 100,000 design and engineering companies still utilize unlicensed software in Southeast Asia. Read more here

DOST unit launches PH’s first IP warehouse

The Technology Application and Promotion Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-TAPI) has introduced the System for Intellectual Property Applications and Grants (SIPAG), an in-house proprietary offline tool intended to trace IP applications and aid in the prosecution of IP violations. Read more here

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The UP Internet Freedom Network (UP INTERNET) is an alliance of students and volunteers advocating for internet freedom. You may e-mail them at upinternet.org@protonmail.com for inquiries.

DOWNLOAD: On the investigation of state-funded trolls, automation, and the privacy concerns on the COVID-19 vaccination rollout: The FMA Digital Rights Roundup (July 16-31, 2021)

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