Information and computer technology (ICT) and the Internet has been part of the every day life of Filipinos. Communication became more efficient and easy through the use of the Internet. Furthermore, answers to every question may easily be sought by searching it on the Internet. The lives of every individual have been greatly dependent and almost limited to the use of ICT. Every job requires the use of the ICT and there can be no company that has never used the ICT for their business transactions. The ICT is considered to be a great help not just to those who are in the confines of their offices but as well as to those who work or stay at home.
ICT has likewise been very useful for the Philippine economy’s boost for the past years.[i] Even the government considers the ICT as great help for their promotions and the most efficient way to reach to the public at large.[ii] Government can easily aid help to every citizen by entering the new era of technology. Through the use of the social networks the government may be reach by the citizenry at any time. Queries are easily answered and updates were provided efficiently. The headlines can be accessed at any time by the use of the Internet.
Government owned and controlled corporations aid to the queries of the citizens through the use of ICT and the Internet. The requirements for certain applications as well as the forms may be viewed and downloaded through the use of the Internet. Every citizen may connect and access to any government owned and controlled corporations at any time at their own convenience. These corporations also provided a query form wherein anyone may post a question and shall be answered on the same site accordingly by the administrator of the government site.
The ICT and the internet provided useful tools not just to the government officials but also to other company who uses the ICT and the Internet to promote their company and to aid their daily business transactions anywhere in the Philippines or even abroad. The international threats to the Philippines’ National Security may be made known daily as well as the updates regarding such threats.[iii]
The simple process in ICT, gadgets and any other thing can be found through the use of the Internet. Videos were uploaded in order to help demonstrate or explain to others how to fix gadgets or machines. Even the creation of websites may be easily sought through the Internet. Videos were uploaded in order to help others who are or might experience the same problems. These helpful videos are being uploaded by people from different nations using either English or their own language for the purpose of providing assistance and help to those who are in need. In the site like Youtube, or even in Google, users simply needs to type what video it is that they need and after clicking the Search button, the Internet, in an instant, will provide results and videos uploaded by random people that are associated to whatever it is that the user wants to search.
Lives were really made easy with the help of the ICT and the Internet. The communication was easy via chats or e-mails. Queries are easily answered either by searching answers on the Internet or having to post the questions on a certain website and answers were provided either on the same website or via e-mail. Cooking, baking, cleaning and fixing anything has likewise been made easy through the help of the ICT and the Internet, by watching video demonstrations provided by other people to help. Reaching government officials or institutions may be done through social networks. Furthermore, people may directly forward their concerns to certain government officials or institutions and may get the answers directly as well. The latest updates or news about what is happening on the Philippine economy can also be accessed by anyone.
The Magna Carta for Internet Freedom ensures the citizens to be able to meet up with the challenges that the ICT may pose and be able to use it for their benefit. As there are a lot of improvements in the ICT there are also risks that also became greater. The law is expected help individual citizens to be protected against the threats that the cyberspace may bring towards its users. Threats are not only in the economy but also the individual citizens.
Despite the Internet being helpful to each and everyone, it may also pose threats. On-line shops are widely known for years, but it has been more popular as the time goes by since it provides easier, more accessible and faster transactions. It is considered to be time and energy saving since people do not have to leave the confines of their home, workplace or wherever they may be just to shop for clothes, shoes and any other stuff they need. Through the help of the ICT and the Internet, anyone may shop at any time, anywhere. Payments were not that hard since on-line shops accepts payment through credit cards and any other bank transactions, then products will be delivered after payment to the consumer.
The problem begins when the said on-line shops are actually scam. A lot were victimized by the said on-line scam via on-line shops since consumers do not meet the sellers face-to-face to check their credibility and even to check the quality of the product they will buy. The online shop consumers are in good faith that the sellers are selling the products that are in the condition that the consumer expects them to be. Likewise, consumer expects that the seller is not another scammer who posed as sellers only to sought money from their victims.
It has been a problem to every consumer how are they going to be protected by the online shops that are rampant nowadays. Since the ICT and the Internet can be accessed by anyone, anyone may pose as someone or as a member of some institution who’s purpose is to take money from innocent consumers. Online consumers had to take risks in entering every online transaction. Their rights are somehow always at risk through the use of the ICT and the Internet.
The ICT and the Internet, though being very helpful, posed threats and problems to every individual. There are things or processes that not every individual who accessed the Internet are capable of knowing and understanding thoroughly. Numbers of cases filed that has the use of ICT and the Internet as one or part of the issues are greatly becoming larger as the technology provides more advancement.
Threats using e-mail are also rampant these days. There are people who make money out of the personal information they gathered from numbers of e-mails being sent. There are likewise spam messages sent through e-mails from other people. Some messages contains URL links that will take the e-mail receivers to another website to promote or to give out viruses that will or might greatly affect the software of the computer being used to open such website or the e-mail account itself. As a result, the e-mail account that has virus will automatically send messages that also contains virus to all its contacts. These are some acts of invading ones personal information and using their personal account to affect or pose threats to others.
Like any other thing created or invented, there is always pro’s and con’s. As to the use of the ICT and the Internet, it provides a large pro’s since the use of ICT and the Internet provided great help to every individual who access through the Internet. However, it also imposed threats to those who access because there are more things that not everyone will be able to understand fully.
To avoid conflicts, one must be more vigilant when using the ICT and the Internet. It will be very helpful if one takes time to study the process and to gain more understanding with the usage of the ICT and the Internet. The Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom is an aid to every individual who needs protection from the threats posed by the use of the ICT and the Internet. Likewise, it provides definitions and descriptions that one may use as a guide for a better usage of the Internet.
As the number of individuals who are becoming dependent upon the use of the ICT and the Internet, the creation of the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom is greatly needed by each and every user to ensure their rights as they access through the Internet. The wisdom of the law is in great use for every conflicts or issues that may arise. It will likewise provide rules as a guide to a safer and better use of the Internet. The law is not only helpful to the citizens, but also to the government, its officials and its created institutions. The Magna Carta will provide a better use of the ICT and the Internet, whether used by the individual citizens or by government officials or its employees.
The Magna Carta for Internet Freedom shall be improved by providing a broader scope as to the protection of the rights of the individuals who publish or upload information to the Internet.[iv] Persons who used the Internet for redress of grievances against the government shall have better protection.[v] In addition, the rights of individuals who uploaded their information in the Internet shall be provided with more rights and protection specially when they are not capable of removing said uploaded information if being compelled.
Entities that offer Internet access for free or for a fee shall be given more serious punishment for restricting the use or access to the Internet that its employees or guests may access. There are some establishments or entities that restrict access to the Internet even if such access is being offered by their entity. The Magna Carta might be improved by providing greater and more serious punishment for entities that restricts access to the Internet.
The Magna Carta might be improved by allowing more citizens to access freely the website of the government. Some websites are not working or cannot be easily accessed. The citizens must be able to access the government website easily and they must be able to download information that is within their interests. More development plans and updates from the government websites must be accessed easily and updated on a daily basis so as to keep the citizens abreast with the government’s plans or programs that will greatly affect the nation.[vi]
The government having exposed quite a number of issues wherein officials are being questioned for having a very lavish lifestyle warrants a more open and accessible communication from the government. The citizens’ rights to access and view the updated records of the officials’ financial statements must be readily accessed. The budget and expenditures for certain government programs or projects must be readily accessed and viewed by the citizens through the Internet.[vii] The Magna Carta shall provide a better right to these rights and serious punishments for those who will not comply for the citizens to be updated on where their taxes would go.
For the quality of service from service providers, the Magna Carta must imposed serious punishments to those who keep on violating their duties as Internet or network providers. Like for instance, the issue that telephone companies like Globe usually have with its clients whenever their bills go beyond the package or bundle they availed of. Most of the time, telephone companies’ defense is that there was an excessive use of Internet connection or access that causes their bills to go triple its normal monthly rate. However, these companies must be punished for not giving warning or advice to its clients as to the use of their Internet connections. Being network providers, they must not automatically add payment for every excessive use of the allowed Internet connection if they do not remind or give advice to their client how to avoid such excessive use of Internet connections.
Nowadays, people tend to rely on smart phones since telephone companies provides bundles that have limited or so-called “unlimited’ surfing or use of Internet. However, smart phone users do not notice, most of the time, the amount of time they spend on using and accessing the Internet so as to go beyond the allowed period of usage of Internet is allowed.[viii] Some people are not so familiar with their gadgets that they do not know how they may turn off the said Internet connection when they are not actually accessing to the Internet. The network providers must disclose clearly to its users or clients the proper usage and the amount of period of usage and likewise, the effects or would be results for their excessive use or connection to the Internet. The Magna Carta must see to it that network providers must follow their duties and violators must be given a more serious punishment.
As for the literary works, the Magna Carta must give a broader protection and rights to those who create said literary or artistic works. There are instances where literary or artistic works were published by another person in the Internet without giving credit to the creator or by having to publish said works as his own creation.[ix] The violators must know exactly what are the punishment for doing said acts, the creators who’s rights were violated must have a better protection. Each creator of any literary or artistic works, whether they published it for the benefit of the public or for private purposes must have a better protection and their rights must be secured. The creators must not feel that their creation no matter how simple or noble shall be given equal weight as to those famous literary or artistic works that are sometimes sold for a large amount. The Magna Carta must give these creators the sense of security as to their works. They must not feel that the government will not give too much attention on artistic or literary works by a regular or not so famous creator or artist.
The Magna Carta must provide more rules on information or artistic works that are published or uploaded in the Internet. They must give a better security to these works in order to avoid issues like plagiarism. The government through the Magna Carta must provide a serious punishment to those who violates the rights of the creators or artists by having claimed to own said works. In the light of the advancement of today’s technology, it is more rampant for other persons to copy others works and claim it as their own. The law that governs Intellectual Property together with the Magna Carta must create rules or published the guidelines as to how the artists’ works may be protected before they upload or publish it through the Internet.
The Magna Carta must also compel government entity that are responsible for the cases in relation to Intellectual Property issues to provide said guidelines that the public may readily access and see. The punishments for violators must likewise be provided and published through the Internet in order for everyone to see.
The Magna Carta may also be improved by having to compel government institutions and entities to make a device to easily track down people who illegally download files or data being uploaded or published on the Internet. Piracy is still rampant as of today. Illegal downloading of music, movies and other files has been a national issue since the birth of the Internet era.
The Magna Carta must impose a broader scope as to what are the acts that consists piracy.[x] The public must be given a notice what are the effects to the economy if everyone will continue to download illegally all files that must be paid. The Magna Carta must compel network providers or the Internet administrators to track down those who download files illegally and to be allowed to compel the websites that caters files that may be illegally downloaded to be shut down or to remove all these files.
Another part of the Internet Freedom that the Magna Carta may improve is regarding the issue on data privacy.[xi] The information gathered from each individual through the Internet must be given more security and protection. These set of information sought must not be used for any other purposes that will or might affect the rights of the person whose information they will use without consent. Like for instance, the information that are gathered in every social network websites, such information must not be used by the website administrator for other purposes. Likewise, it must not be made known to public unless the owners of said information have actually given their consent.
The Magna Carta must see to it that website administrators comply with their duties and do not divulge information that are personal for public and any other purposes.[xii] The users must also be given a notice and guidance whenever they give out their personal information especially on the Internet. The punishment must be greater to those website administrators who will violate the rights of individuals whose personal information are being used for any other purpose.
Lastly, for online transactions whether it be business or not, the data and information that are given and passed on to another person through the Internet must be secured and protected. The Magna Carta must have a broader scope on what are the contents of every messages like on e-mails which must be protected and can never be used by others for any other purposes especially without the consent of the person who gave out said information or data.
The Internet provides a wide variety of data, information and files that everyone may readily access. It is only a matter of law and proper implementation where the rights of every person whose information or files were published in the Internet can be protected. The Magna Carta must compel those government entities and instrumentalities whose duty is to keep the rights of the individuals protected in the Internet.
The Magna Carta and its wisdom must be properly implemented and followed for a better use of the Internet and for everyone to have access the Internet safely and freely. Everyone must do their part as to be vigilant on what they published and on actions they do through the Internet. The Magna Carta for Internet Freedom can be improved it is provides a clearer and more understandable content. Likewise, the Magna Carta served as a set of guidelines to everything and everyone that uses the Internet. It provides a set of rules that will be very helpful for the development of the Philippines’ economy through the use and help of the Internet. Hence, the legislators must ensure the public that their rights are secured and protected with the Magna Carta. It shall impose to the public that it intends to protect everyone from the harm or threats that the Internet may bring, whether it is personal to each individual or as a whole, to the whole nation.
The world, as everyone knows it, keeps on changing through time. Technological advancement had become a great part of it. The Internet has made its part in contributing to help nations keep abreast with the latest news or even trends from other nations to help and build a better economy. I think it is best if the Magna Carta will be given more attention and will be treated more seriously. As we’ve heard for the past months, there are still instances or cases that occur where people got scammed or have their integrity damaged through the Internet. The legislators cannot be secured with the rules and punishments they had laid down in the Magna Carta. They must make sure that the Magna Carta is being used and complied with. Likewise, the victims by the Internet, whether it is by scam, cyber-bullying or anything that destroyed or damaged one’s personality and integrity, must be lessen as the time goes by with the creation of the Magna Carta.
[i] Santos, Makitas; Internet Can Boost Economy-Networking Firm; http://technology.inquirer.net/12343/internet-can-boost-economy-–-networking-firm; Last retrieved: May 2, 2014
[vii] The ProPinoy Project; Why There Should Be A Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom; http://propinoy.net/2014/03/03/magna-carta-philippine-internet-freedom/; Last retrieved: May 2, 2014