The Cybercrime Prevention Act

Cybercrime FAQ (for individuals, v2022-1)

Someone hacked into my google drive and dowloaded my personal files, including some embarrassing pictures. Did they commit a crime?

Yes. They violated Republic Act 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012).  In that law, illegal access is a punishable by imprisonment (est. 1-6 months) and a fine of at least Php200,000.00.

If someone posts embarrassing photos of me, and spreads false, negative information about me, is this a violation also of the Cybercrime Prevention Act?

Yes. It is considered cyber libel.  The Cybercrime Prevention Act prohibits libel (as defined by the Revised Penal Code, Art 355) if committed through a “computer system”.  This includes sharing the photos or information on social media platforms.

How is libel defined in Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code?

Libel is defined as a “public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person”

What is the penalty for cyber libel?

Imprisonment of at least two years, four months and 1 day and up to eight years.

Someone sent an email using my device and pretending to be me. This person asked other people to send money. If I find out who did it, what crime can I charge them with?

You can charge them with computer forgery or computer related identity theft under the Cybercrime Prevention act.

What other offenses are prohibited by the Cybercrime Prevention Act?

Some of the other offenses are:

  1. Illegal access;
  2. Illegal interception;
  3. Data interference;
  4. System interference;
  5. Misuse of Devices;
  6. Cyber Squatting;
  7. Computer related forgery, fraud, theft;
  8. Cybersex, violation of R.A. 9775 (creation of child sexual abuse materials), unsolicited commercial communications (spam).

How are these defined?

The definitions of these and other cyber crimes are found in Sections 4-7 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.  If you think you are the victim of cybercrime, and would like to know if you can file a case, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer.

Many criminal laws were written before computers and the internet came about. If a crime is committed using a computer system but the crime is not one of those mentioned above, and is not specifically in the Cybercrime Prevention Act, can the offender be charged with the crime?

Yes. Section 6 of the Cybercrime Prevention Act provides:

Section 6. All crimes defined and penalized by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, if committed by, through and with the use of information and communications technologies shall be covered by the relevant provisions of this Act: Provided, That the penalty to be imposed shall be one (1) degree higher than that provided for by the Revised Penal Code, as amended, and special laws, as the case may be.