Cyber Law

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Commerce is one of the significant things in this world that we certainly owe from the very first people who built its existence and its purpose. It has been a great part of our lives. Perhaps, without it, there would be slow pace and developments in each of us since I believe that the basic principle of commerce is to produce and to consume. There would be no new products if there would not be any materialistic motivation to create these. And I am somewhat referring to the exchange in every product being sold. Consumption is another way around, it would not exist if there would no productions. The point is commerce has certainly made his big part between these two factors. Commerce or trade (a term used during ancient times or commonly called, barter) is one of the factors that motivate a man to produce and produce. One has nothing to sell if he has nothing to receive in return, and that is when commerce takes into the scene.

We may not always consider but we do a lot of things everyday that pertains to commerce. A simple trade is already a form of commerce. Significantly, it takes on every simple situation we may involve like two movie passes to buy your friend’s time. Commerce takes place on everything that entertains the idea of “exchange”. Long time ago, everyone engages into this kind of trade, bartering. Goods are sold to buy goods or vice-versa. Until later on, the term money and its creation was coined and built up. And everyone has to earn such to buy what he needs and what he wants. Even according to some, money revolves the world since they believe that no one can live without money.

With money’s existence, several forms of commerce have eventually and slowly existed. Various trades and exchanges were invented. Indeed, it was on this period that the growth of business has widen that its scopes could be seen from the selling of clothing to food to transportation to everything a person’s obliged to take hold of and go through. And everything has an attached value on it, until traditional commerce was formed to provide better area for everyone engaging in trading.

Traditional commerce involves two significant actors. They are the Buyer and the Seller. The buyer identifies his needs and searches for the products that would definitely satisfy these needs. The seller will in another way, identify the possible needs of his consumer and produce products that could eventually satisfy those needs. Once these needs are satisfied, payments deals are taken into the account, and that is when commerce is being applied.

In point of fact, this kind of practice, the traditional commerce has been developed to build a newly and more interactive exchange where anyone from any point in the world can perform trades without face-to-face interaction. Traditional commerce has effectively given way to electronic commerce or e-commerce.

The creation of the World Wide Web and dot com’s extensive popularity have eventually led commerce into a new innovative form wherein it provides a better access and a wide-range of producers and consumers around the globe. In fact, doing business online is considered by every company now as another way to boost their business and gain more profits. Undeniably, it is because online business provides 24/7 customer service and an unlimited access to the audience where “Sorry we’re CLOSE” signs were certainly obliterated.

The very common practice of e-commerce is the online shopping, from books offered in Amazon.com to food orders to movie reservations to buying of plane tickets, everything can be sold and bought in the cyberspace. And there is nothing equivalent of it in the offline world.

But, the drawback is, with the practicality and convenience offered by e-commerce, there are some people who use e-commerce to ruin and invade the private lives of people. That is why there are definitely, various laws have been imposed to prevent these incidents. These laws are created to protect the rights of people when it comes to e-commerce.

These laws are made to provide legislative backbone for the emergent use of e-commerce. The Model Law on Electronic Commerce was created by United Nations Commission on International Trade Law, this law provides a guide for comprehending and understanding the basic components an e-commerce law should be composed of. These are functional equivalence between traditional paper documents and its electronic form; media and technology neutrality, bias towards technology should be avoided; autonomy, it refers to the agreement between two parties on how the electronic transactions be made between them; legal signature that pertains to the authorization between two parties to approve whatever is being made between them; writing, it is the availability of documents whether it is electronically created; original, means that it must be with integrity; and lastly, record retention, this is how records are kept and stored electronically.

There are several e-commerce laws created worldwide, and locally, we have our own Philippines’ E-Commerce Law or otherwise known as Republic Act 8792, the E-Commerce Law. Every Filipinos that do electronic transactions are covered by this law. With this law there are several guidelines made like the recognition of any electronic types of documents, transactions and contracts made electronically, bank transactions, the level of e-commerce security, and transportation of electronic documents.

However, even if there is an e-commerce law existed, there is a fear that this law doesn’t cover everything necessary to protect the people engaged in e-commerce. Law breakers are not really punished for some reasons like there is a lack of evidence to push him into his offense; another is that simply, the law is not imposed properly and fully. Eventually, the lack of policies also in every company that uses e-commerce have not been commonly practiced that their employees’ awareness on the law is very minimal or to some extent, none at all. They do not even know that such law ever existed due to lack of campaign endorsing to and informing the people about the existence and purpose of the law.

Information security is a very significant and major matter to be considered when doing transactions in the internet. We all know that a lapse in the security of your information is a big disaster. It is your best asset against your rivalry and they can use it as their best weapon against you if once leaked. A very common crime present in the cyberspace presently is the identity theft. You may not aware but you have been disclosing your personal information to anyone in the cyberspace who has been tracking your identity and maybe later on, as you were enjoying your life in the offline world, your identity has been actively participating with deals and transactions in the internet involving lots of money and interests. And you will end up someday bankrupted.

The very unfortunate about being victimized with these identity thefts is that you can not easily trace up them. In fact they tend to play anyone’s roles or in other words, they become anonymous and getting some hints and evidences that lead towards to these people are very tough ones. The worst is when these people are the very witty and wise persons who could have several techniques to use different IP addresses and employ several programming skills to hide their exact locations and identities. Cybercrimes are the ever-tough puzzles to solve. They could give a very hard battle with the authorities who are tracking them down.

The very unfortunate fact of this incident is that there is no accurate regulation that control cybercrimes and that could assure you that you are protected against these cyber criminals. Knowing that these criminals are hard to capture how much more if there is no precise law that was properly imposed to eradicate these people. One can not be sure if he is protected enough against malicious offense against them. Like what happened in the Sulit.com hacking incident last month wherein the said site was hacked. The suspected hacker made the site looked like its domain has expired. The site’s founder has defended that their domain is registered until 2010. With this, it can be said even major companies are not seriously implementing strict information security. It is because there is no precise law for it. Information security is one of the important issues a company should take into account first. Undeniably, information is the company’s valuable asset. Once it is leaked and modified, it can ruin the entire company’s reputation. This is why the strictness of security certainly reflects to the ones who impose them.

The “I love you” virus who has been rumored to be originated in the Philippines has brought our congress to create a law that would certainly help avoid such incident be happened again. In fact, Philippines is the fourth country who made a law about e-commerce that has certainly put Philippines in the e-commerce field and be known among the countries who have already engaged well in electronic transactions. E-commerce law’s existence has eventually strengthened the foundation for electronic transactions.

And that is why we should be thankful that we have an existing e-commerce law. However, a law remains a law if it will not be carried out into actions. And so later on, Securities and Exchange Commission or SEC has been appointed by the current administration last month to lead the implementation of the said law. However, the Philippine Internet Commerce Society led by Ann Tolentino was partly disappointed with the said appointment that supposedly be given to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). Well, Ms. Tolentino was hopeful anyway that the said lead agency will implement the law correctly. But still doubts were not totally eliminated.

So how can be a law strongly imposed if the governing bodies imposing them are being doubted to do their tasks. Unity among these policy implementers is the most significant factor to arrive at their main goals and one of these is to eradicate cybercrimes. We will be good followers if the ones that lead us are effectively justified of their tasks and responsibilities as efficient implementers. E-commerce law like any other law’s existence is best realized when it is properly implemented.

Looking back to the old days where commerce has solely started with simple bartering system and now here comes the most innovative form of trade, the e-commerce, we must see and realize that somehow, not like before, a more complicated system requires better concern. A more proper structure in implementation of actions is necessary and this must be followed and known by every person engaged in e-commerce. We all know that a more unified and coherent actions are all needed to help eradicate and possibly, end all the cybercrimes existing in the internet.

We must also take note that cybercrimes like technology, they are continuously growing and expanding, a new cybercrime comes across for every new evil act discovered. So, definitely even if we have a law controlling cybercrimes, it could not be enough since the existing law right now does not still cover possible offenses maybe committed by an offender someday, even now, information security was not still being concerned by the law at all. The very probable dilemma that would take place someday is the uncontrollable expansion and growth rate of crimes in the cyberspace if it would not be taken care of immediately. A stronger regulation and well-strategic and calculated approach must be imposed and planned to avoid such risks ahead of time. And so, a well-built law must be implemented and afterwards, a more careful and suitable execution must be done. Finally, let us not always depend ourselves and all these plans to the policymakers and implementers, let us play our own rules as part of the community who is engaging in e-commerce, the law and the authorized people behind this are not enough to eliminate crimes and offenses, each of us has something to contribute to make a law a working force against evil. At the end, we are not the ones who will depend on the law, it is the other way around.

References:
http://www.zdnetasia.com/news/internet/0,39044908,62047922,00.htm
http://blog.defconph.org/?p=155
http://www.arellanolaw.net/publish/itlj-issue1_07.html


2 comments:

  • charmj

    cyberlaw is really very essential to make e-commerce safer..but it still needs more advocates to make it a better and stronger framework of protection

  • informaxona

    @charmj

    well, that just means that it must be promoted well to the audience... and the people who's covered by the law

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