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New Philippine law criminalizes cybersex and Internet porn

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Randy Filipino Internet users, beware: it’s now illegal to engage in “cybersex.”

And that doesn’t just mean sending your sweetheart some suggestive pictures. It apparently outlaws cam models and uploading porn, too.

As part of a sweeping, controversial new law called the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, cybersex—defined as the “lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system, for favor or consideration”—is now a crime.

Anyone found guilty of such behavior faces a fine of up to to a million pesos (U.S. $24,018), and an unspecified amount of prison time.

“It does outlaw porn online,” Raissa Robles, the South China Morning Post’s Manila correspondent, told the Daily Dot via Twitter. “Some netizens here r concerned even sending each other explicit pics could violate law.”

Only one senator, Teofisto Guingona III, voted against the bill in January, and wrote on Facebook that the cybersex provision “legislates morality.”

The bill establishes an Office of Cybercrime with a budget of PhP50,000,000 (U.S. $1,200,915). Though the Cybercrime Prevention Act names a number of more conventional cyber crimes—like gaining illegal access or selling users’ passwords—as its main targets, it has also received severe criticism for extending the country’s harsh libel laws, which can lead to “correctional imprisonment,” to apply to anyone who uses the Internet.

The Philippines’ National Union of Journalists, for example, called the extended libel law “a threat not only against the media and other communicators but anyone in the general public who has access to a computer and the Internet.”

Photo by djwingsia/Flickr