Internet Service Providers: Can they be held liable for cybercrimes?

Internet Service Providers: Can they be held liable for cybercrimes?

One of the current challenges in cybercrime prevention legislation includes the determination of liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in offenses including cyber trafficking, copyright infringement, and the like. Undeniably, ISPs play a significant role as intermediaries in providing means for relaying information to internet users through their systems.

While the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 outlines the responsibilities of ISPs with respect to the conduct of cybercrimes, certain provisions of the Act also exempt them from liabilities. As ISPs are not mere passive actors in the industry, our government should be more progressive in rethinking these exemptions granted to these platforms.

ISPs defined

ISPs provide access to the World Wide Web and allow subscribers or users to generate, store, and publish content. The “Electronic Commerce Act of 2000” defines a “Service Provider” either as a provider of “on-line services or network access or the operator of facilities therefore, including entities offering the transmission, routing, or providing of connections for online communications, digital or otherwise, between or among points specified by a user, of electronic documents of the user’s choosing;” or a provider of “the necessary technical means by which electronic documents of an originator may be stored and made accessible to designated or undesignated third party.” These descriptions seem broad enough to include web hosting sites for blogs such as WordPress, user-generated content websites like YouTube, or social networking sites such as Facebook.

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Disini & Disini Law Office