(UPDATED 7:00 A.M.) MANILA, Philippines — Once again, hackers have broken into the website of the Office of the Vice President in what appears to be a protest against the passage of Senate Bill 2796, or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
Opening the URL www.ovp.gov.ph redirects users to the page http://organicx.co.za/PRIVATEX/, which bears the heading PRIVATE X with the colors of the Philippine flag and the “V for Vendetta” mask identified with the Anonymous movement of hackers above the date 6.12.2012, or Independence Day, as the song “Three Stars and a Sun” by Francis Magalona and Parokya ni Edgar plays in the background.
A message on the page is signed by the following: HukbalaHack, Anonymous #OccupyPhilippines, PrivateX, Anonymous BXU, Philkers.
The message acknowledges “the efforts of our good authority (sic)” in coming up with the anti-cybercrime legislation but notes “a little loopholes (sic) over some matters.”
While approving of provisions against fraud and “other serious cyber crimes,” the message took exception to parts of the bill “that has something to do with the Internet’s freedom of expression (sic),” an apparent reference to the inclusion of libel as one of the offenses punishable under the measure.
“In such instances, the said bill could evenly be more considered as an exercise for the benefit of a few empowered who have the way and will to punish people who offend them, and could also be a potential threat to the freedom of expression since it can be used as a tool of censorship, and moreover it can greatly be used in the near future to condone further implementations of worse forms of censorship,” it added.
A number of media organizations and freedom of expression advocates who have been campaigning for the decriminalization of libel have also protested the inclusion of the offense in the bill.
The hackers said they were hoping for the “recuperation” of the bill and looked forward to the measure’s sparking a “resurgence of the Philippine cyber-culture and the betterment of it.”
They also stressed that “no information or files have been stolen, destroyed or touched,” because “our ethics prohibits those kinds of acts.”
“Our only intention is to deliver our protest,” they said.
Their message ended with the greeting: “Happy Independence Day.”
This is the third time hackers defaced the Vice President’s website within 12 months.
Independence Day hacking spree
Moreover, several other government websites were also defaced by the same hacking group on Independence Day.
The hacked websites and webpages include:
As of posting time, many of the affected government websites still redirect visitors to the same URL the hackers planted on the website of the Vice President.