Lawmakers seek to criminalize 'phishing'

Posted at 07/17/2012 3:08 AM | Updated as of 07/30/2012 10:55 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Two administration lawmakers have filed a measure seeking to define and penalize “phishing” or the act of securing personal information for fraud in cyberspace.

The alarming rise of illegal Internet activities in the country prompted Reps. Mariano Michael Velarde Jr. and Irwin Tieng of the Buhay party-list to push for the early passage of House Bill 6199 or the “Anti-Phishing Bill of 2012.”

The bill defines phishing as an act of securing personal information such as username, password, bank account numbers and credit card details for the purpose of using it in fraud, or for participating in fraudulent business practices, or for the purpose of identity theft and misrepresentation.

HB 6199 imposes 12-year imprisonment and a fine of P200,000 and penalizes any person who willfully abets or aids in the commission of any of the offenses or any person who willfully attempts to commit any of the enumerated offenses under the proposed act.

Velarde said there are two related bills pending approval in Congress. One is Senate Bill 2796 otherwise called “An Act Defining Cybercrime, Providing for Prevention, Investigation and Imposition of Penalties thereof and for Other Purposes,” and the other one is House Bill 5808 or “An Act Preventing Cybercrime, Providing for the Prevention, Suppression and the Imposition of Penalties Therefor and for Other Purposes,” which were passed on third reading.

“Currently, these bills merely define and penalize cyber crimes in general. The intent of this measure is to specifically define and penalize phishing in the Philippines,” Velarde said.