MANILA, Philippines — A local hacktivist group has once again defaced the website of Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III early Tuesday morning in a renewed call for the revision of the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
In place of the usual homepage, Sotto’s website was replaced with a deface page bearing the hacker’s message and the song “Freedom” by American rap metal band Rage Against The Machine blaring in the background.
“It’s been a long time, Tito Sen!” the group’s message read. “Deny us our freedom of speech and of expression through R.A. 10175 (Cybercrime Law) and we will deny you your cyberspace. You cannot shut us up, you cannot shut us down.”
Upon opening the page, a popup also materializes bearing the message “Defaced by #pR.is0n3r.” #pR.is0n3r has been one of the more active hacktivists who launched protests against the Cybercrime law back in October. The group, or the hacker, has aligned itself with the global hacktivist group Anonymous.
The defacement of Sotto’s website is just the first in what appears to be a series of online protests that will be mounted by various groups days before the Supreme Court hears the oral arguments of the law’s petitioners, and weeks before the 120-day temporary restraining order against the law expires.
Sotto has been widely acknowledged as the one to have inserted the libel provision in the Cybercrime law, one of the most contentious clauses petitioners are trying to strike down with the help of the high court.
Other provisions found contentious by civil society groups and lawyers are Section 19, also known as the takedown provision, which grants the Department of Justice arbitrary powers to shut down a website; and Section 12, which allows authorities to monitor traffic data of suspected Cybercrime offenders.
The SC is scheduled to hear oral arguments of the petitioners on January 15. The 120-day TRO is expected to expire around the first week of February. Congress, however, has yet to pass bills amending the contentious provisions in the law.
Sotto’s website, meanwhile, is still inaccessible as of posting time.