Category Archives: Internet & Tech

Online Sellers / Businesses Required to Register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) gave notice, through Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 60-2020, to all persons engaged in online selling, or conducting business transactions through any forms of electronic media, to register their respective businesses and pay the appropriate taxes — not later than 31 July 2020. Online sellers are also given notice to declare past sales and pay the appropriate taxes, without penalties, if done not later than 31 July 2020. The registration guidelines and requirements, for both individual and juridical online sellers, are discussed below.

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The Crime of Identity Theft and Fake Accounts in the Philippines

The advent of technology blurs the line between crimes committed in the physical world and crimes committed in the electronic world. In the United States of America (U.S.), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a dedicated one-stop resource, the IdentityTheft.gov, for identity theft victims (we are unaware if the Philippine National Privacy Commission has a similar resource). Identity theft, according to the FTC, happens when someone uses your Social Security number or other personal information to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund. The applicable laws on identity theft in the Philippines are discussed below.

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Cybercrimes and Warrantless Arrests: The Case of Ronnel Mas

A cybercrime may refer to an offense defined and penalized under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No 10175), or crimes/offenses defined and penalized in other laws committed through an information and communications system (ICT). A warrantless arrest, on the other hand, may be valid under certain circumstances (see Warrant of arrest in cybercrimes). We see the combination of both topics discussed in this Forum, cybercrimes and valid warrantless arrests, in the recent resolution of the Department of Justice (DOJ) relating to the warrantless arrest of a teacher, Ronnel Mas.

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Illegal Interception of Computer Data, Warrant to Intercept (WICD): Rule on Cybercrime Warrants

Illegal interception of computer data is defined and penalized under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. The crime of “illegal interception” is the “interception made by technical means without right of any non-public transmission of computer data to, from, or within a computer system including electromagnetic emissions from a computer system carrying such computer data.” As far as the unauthorized intrusion into the computer system, this is akin to the Anti-Wiretapping Law and the Anti-Photo and Video Voyeurism Act of 2009, both of which are discussed below for easy reference.

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Unregistered Cryptocurrency Investments: SEC Advises Public to be Wary

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advised the public not to invest or stop investing in schemes or initial coin offerings and digital asset trading which are not compliant with the guidelines of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and SEC. The SEC, through its Enforcement and Investor Protection Department, recently issued a number of advisories warning the public about the activities of certain entities, including the following:

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Destruction of Computer Data under the Rule on Cybercrime Warrants

Under the Rule on Cybercrime Warrants and the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, service providers have the duty to preserve computer data within a general period of 6 months (see Preservation of Computer Data), upon notice by law enforcement agencies. On the other hand, law enforcement agencies have a requisite period to complete the examination of computer data. Upon the expiration of these periods, the service providers and law enforcement authorities, as the case may be, shall immediately and completely destroy the computer data subject of preservation and examination. 

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