February 1-15, 2022

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

PCCI, DICT partner for satellite broadband connectivity

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has partnered with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to pilot test satellite broadband connectivity that will provide internet connection in remote areas. PCCI president George Barcelon said this initiative would help those in remote area tap opportunities and services using digital technology. Read more here

PH space agency to test UK firm’s low-earth orbit satellite Internet service

The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) has accepted the proposal of United Kingdom-based firm OneWeb to test their satellite Internet services in select remote and rural areas. PhilSA and OneWeb are now engaged in further detailed discussions on the technical requirements and other logistics of the test deployments. Read more here.

NEDA chief says PH needs to further improve broadband speed

The Philippines can further increase its Internet speed according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). The country currently ranks 63 out of 178 countries in terms of broadband speed. NEDA chief said opening the telecoms sector to foreign investments could attract more technology and innovation. Read more here.

Converge planning to bury cables as disaster-proofing measure following ‘Odette’

Fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. is working towards further protecting its nationwide fiber network from natural calamities. This follows the challenges in restoration brought about by Typhoon Odette. The company is planning to use micro-trenching technology to put key connectivity elements underground. Converge has doubled its repair teams in Cebu for speedier restoration and repair in viable areas. The company also deployed satellite phones for the use of network restoration teams. Pro-rated rebates will be given to subscribers who have lost their service due to Typhoon. Read more here

Senate, House OK reconciled bill lifting foreign ownership curbs 

Foreign investors will soon be allowed to own up to 100 percent of companies in the telecommunications, transportation and other public services. The reconciled version of the amendments to the 85-year-old Public Service Act (PSA) is now just awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature. Read more here

PCC drafting circular barring property firms in imposing single ISPs in condos, subdivisions

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is finalizing a memorandum circular seeking to prohibit property developers from imposing exclusive deals with just one broadband or Internet service provider. The Commission has received around 100 complaints due to anticompetitive conducts of limiting the entry of ISPs through an exclusive Internet connectivity deal. Read more here

E-commerce exploded in PH during pandemic, says credit card exec 

E-commerce dominated over other businesses during the entire pandemic period that began in March 2020. Purchases made through e-commerce increased by 132 percent in 2021 from the previous year. Consumers prefer buying online then delivered at their doorsteps rather than go out and buy at supermarkets or malls. Read more here

PNP report linking party list to Marcos ‘kill plot’ hit

Party-list group Kabataan accused the Philippine National Police of alleged political bias for implicating the group in the purported plot to assassinate presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The PNP’s Anti-Crime Group said a Tiktok user by the name @ljluna7 is a public account that supports the party list account with 133 followers. Read more here

Philippines passes law to tackle anonymous social media abuse

Philippines lawmakers have approved legislation requiring social media users to register their legal identities and phone numbers. The bill is a rare push by a legislature to compel users to disclose details that would allow them to be traced. It comes ahead of a general election in May, with social media set to be a key campaign battleground. Read more here.

DOJ, BAP ink pact on cybersecurity measures

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Friday. The MOU will help the private sector and the government achieve its common goal of establishing a collective, coordinated, and strategic cyber response through information-sharing, learning, training, and fostering cybersecurity awareness. Under the MOU, the BAP and DOJ will be kept abreast of the latest developments in cybersecurity to better protect the banking industry and the general public from fraudulent activities. Read more here. 

‘Mandatory SIM card registration puts privacy at risk, might not curb crime’

The mandatory registration of SIM cards may just put the security and privacy of citizens at risk because there is no proof that compulsory enrollment of personal information with telecommunications firms will curb crimes, according to cybersecurity initiative. This comes days after Congress ratified the proposed SIM card Registration Act which, if passed, will compel citizens to provide their personal information to public telecommunications entities (PTEs). Read more here

House wants teachers ‘amply protected’ amid pandemic

The House of Representatives has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to support public school teachers and college faculties amid the pandemic. It called for the provision of personal protective equipment, disinfectants, tablets or laptops, and broadband subscription. Read more here.

Robredo is biggest disinformation victim; Marcos gains from ‘misleading’ posts — fact-checker 

Vice President Leni Robredo is the “biggest victim” of disinformation, while former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is the beneficiary of positive but misleading messaging on social media according to the preliminary findings of Tsek.ph, an academe-based fact-checking initiative launched in 2019 for the mid-term elections. Read more here.

House OKs bill vs online or offline child sexual abuse

The House of Representatives approves House Bill No. 10703 or the “Anti-Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children”. Author Cheryl Deloso-Montalla said current laws “cannot cover the full range of on- and offline child sexual abuse or exploitation activities”. Under the measure, an inter-agency body is also created which will supersede the anti-child pornography council. Read more here

‘Safer Internet Day’ to address online abuse of children

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has partnered with internet service providers (ISPs) for the month-long celebration of Safer Internet Day for Children Philippines (SID PH) starting February 8. The celebration will center on the theme “Click, Respect, Connect – Next Level: Ligtas na Ugnayan (Safe Interaction) Online”. A forum with ISPs will discuss the available technologies to combat and address online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Read more here

PH Internet speed dips slightly due to infra damages brought by Typhoon Odette in 22 provinces

The country’s fixed median broadband speed decreased to 49.52Mbps from 50.26Mbps registered the month before. The country’s average fixed broadband speed still represents an improvement of 526.04% since the Duterte administration began in July 2016. Decreases in speeds are primarily due to the devastation brought by Typhoon “Odette” which barreled through twenty-two provinces in the Visayas and Mindanao in December 2021. Read more here.

Drilon defends ‘anti-troll’ provision in SIM card registration bill

Sen. Franklin M. Drilon disputed claims that the “anti-troll” provision that he introduced in the proposed SIM Card Registration Act was inserted during the bicam. Twenty-two senators voted in favor of the measure on third reading last December. The bill is now up for approval by the president. Read more here.

Threat awareness high as digital banking users list preferred security steps

A recent study found that more electronic payment (e-payment) users in Southeast Asia have become increasingly aware of the importance of safeguarding their financial data. At least 90 percent of respondents surveyed across APAC (Asia Pacific) territories have used mobile payment applications at least once in the past 12 months. Read more here

Singapore firm to build largest Philippine data center

Singapore data center company SpaceDC is investing more than $700 million for the largest data center in the country that is set to rise in Cainta, Rizal within the year. The hyperscale data center campus, dubbed MNL1, will cover an area of 4.3 hectares. It will have a capacity of 72 megawatts, and will be fully powered by renewable energy sources such as wind and geothermal energy. Read more here

Lorraine Badoy’s threat of raps over fact-check an affront to people’s right to know — groups

Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy announced a government plan to sue Rappler and Facebook over a fact-check piece on her statement. Groups under the Movement Against Disinformation (MAD) called it a form of intimidation and harassment. Read more here.

Suspended lawyer Gadon faces criminal raps over vulgar video vs journalist

Journalist Raissa Robles has filed multiple criminal complaints against suspended lawyer Larry Gadon over his profanity-laced rant at her that contained Filipino equivalents of the f-word and a reference to sex with a dog. Robles filed complaints against Gadon before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City. Read more here

SIM card registration could lead to rise in extortion, other crimes, warns group

Mandatory SIM card registration could lead to an increase in crimes such as extortion and kidnappings, according to advocacy group Democracy.net.ph. In Mexico, the SIM Card Registration Act was enacted in 2009 and then repealed in 2012 after crime increased because of the law. Read more here.

51% find it ‘difficult’ to spot fake news — SWS

One in every two Filipinos find it difficult to spot fake news on traditional and social media, according to a survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS). SWS president Linda Luz Guerrero announced the results during the 2022 SWS Survey Review virtual forum on Monday. 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 internet services, digital transactions, and the SIM card registration: The FMA Digital Rights Roundup (1-15 February 2022)

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Categories: Human Rights


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