Philippine Supreme Court says online snooping illegal but libel on the Internet punishable


MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines Supreme Court has ruled that online surveillance by authorities is illegal without a court order, but it upheld libel as criminal offence in a cybercrime law that will now be enforced.

The law was passed in 2012 but suspended shortly after that. The court ruled Tuesday on petitions in which opponents argued the law is unconstitutional and restricts freedom of expression.

Court spokesman Theodore Te says judges found only parts of the law are unconstitutional, such as provisions allowing real-time collection of online data by authorities and the shutting down of a website without due process. Libel online remains a criminal offence.

The law aims to combat Internet crimes such as hacking, identity theft, cybersex and online child pornography.

Opponents are considering asking the court to reconsider.

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