Monday, August 31, 2009

Facebook fraud hits home

Two days ago, my mom received a Facebook message from her friend who was based in London. My mom’s friend was apparently having a hard time abroad. She ran out of money because of exorbitant medical expenses. As her medication was absolutely necessary, she asked her friends to send her some money in whatever amount by depositing it in her bank account, the details of which were also in the message. A message like that would normally have gotten my mom to speedily call all their common friends to arrange how they can help, but it didn’t. Why? Because this friend, who supposedly sent her the message, is actually visiting in Manila and they just had dinner the night before!

So the impostor missed that one information about the target. My mom said though that the letter really did sound like it came from her friend—same writing style, same vocabulary. If she hadn’t just seen her friend, she would have believed it. She quickly informed her friend about it and, needless to say, her friend had to change her password and send out clarificatory messages so that no one will fall prey to this impostor.

Here’s what I got from my mom’s experience:
Lesson #1: Protect your password, especially if you’re sharing computers! Also, think of a really hard one to crack. You’ll never know what kind of trouble it can bring you and your friends if someone uses your account to swindle your friends.
Lesson #2: Verify messages, especially if it involves sending money or confidential information. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this one.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Analyzing IM Language

I've started reading this book called "The Definitive Book of Body Language" and it talks all about... well... body language: The non-verbal signs we give, the unconscious things we do while communicating, and how to interpret all of these.

This kind of knowledge could come in very handy for one making a presentation to a client, or those about to undergo a job interview, or those going out on a first date.

Crossing one's legs, twitching eyebrows, stiff upper lips... every little detail tells something about a person.

And this got me thinking: for those of us who chat online (YM, MSN, etc.), or send messages through social networking sites (facebook, twitter, etc.); do we go as far as analyzing the instant messages of our friends, crushes or lovers?

I've been guilty of doing this. What does she mean when she says, "maybe"? Why did she place a smiley after, "see you later"? Does the ?!?!? after the words "What happened to you" mean thatshe cares about me?

Could we study these things like we do body language? Can we catch a glimpse of other's personalities or emotions through online communication? Will emoticons ever truly capture with certainty that which a person wishes to express?

There are huge implications to this, especially if we wish to use instant messages as evidence in criminal or civil cases. Was there malice when he typed, "I could kill you!"? Or does the phrase, "Sige, pay when able ka na lang, pare, hehe," give rise to a valid obligation?

We've mastered body language. Perhaps we can move on to IM language. :p

Thursday, August 27, 2009

employment and social networking

facebook is sooo IN that its even (as many of my fellow classmates have blogged about here) that its even in our own College of Law. But you really know its the big time when companies start pouring money into it.


Companies i.e. employers i.e. those that pay my salary have been participating for profit but what many of us do not seem to realize companies do spend time looking at your facebook account. Actually it isn't just facebook its the whole social networking site genre. 'igo-google ko boyfriend mo" --The internet is an excellent source for corporations acting as employers to get the low down on their future employees and future former employees.

BOSTON, June 20, 2006

Employers Look At Facebook, Too

Companies Turn To Online Profiles To See What Applicants Are Really Like

By Amy S Clark

Being tech savy and being part of the new wave of online public participation is really the new thing. Honestly do you really want to post everything? Your personality online as sir keeps reminding us is hardly private and Employers are taking advantage of that. It is so much cheaper to open a computer, connect online and google your name or check your social networking information from the email and name on your resume THAN hiring a detective agency and snoop around about you (suprised? big companies can have this done-- especially for key positions) Is it wrong? I don't think so. Personally as a former employer myself I would like to know what kind of people who would be working for me, the kind of personality they have, whether or not they party too hard and too often (will they be late for work...and will they be actually working not dozing?), do they do drugs (god!!!imagine the legal repurcussions of having a weed with more than two people in one room!-aggravated by party-life!), smoke (the clients may not like it). Admittively a lot of the stuff i'm mentioning fall well within the private sphere and your employer shouldnt really care about what you do on your private time. Still you got to admit my concerns are valid. Now I'm on the other side of the coin currently an employee, of course I'm concerned about what my boss thinks about me; what my future employers know about me. Without going into the debate of privacy online; when we go online and start posting stuff about yourself aren't you making it public?

CCTV cameras: Crime Catching TV or Confidentiality Compromising TV

“You have to be very ready with your hand camera…because this action can become very a matter of 3 to 4 minutes, it could be all over...i won’t be able to talk to you this is the danger…the big danger...”

§ Senator Benigno Aquino , Jr. (in his prophetic interview at his Grand Hotel suite in Taipei on August 20, 1983)

Perhaps if only Manila International Airport were equipped with CCTV systems in their premises, the mystery of Ninoy’s death could have been solved. The names of Rolando Galman and the various AFP soldiers could have either been cleared or condemned with finality. Conspiracy theories may have been laid to rest. The BIG DANGER of recording history with uncertainty could have been forestalled.

CCTV is fast becoming a common facet of our daily lives- recording our movements inside the premises of private business establishments, in communal areas, and even in public places. As fear of terrorism and crime escalates, the installation of CCTV systems has surged in recent years. Its usage is no longer confined in high-risk security areas such as banks. Indeed, our legislators[1] and law enforcement agencies[2] deem that the development of CCTV is a major breakthrough in crime prevention. They are of such view that CCTV deters “opportunistic” crimes, where people take advantage of a situation on the spur of the moment. For our police force, CCTV cameras are not only guardians of public places in lieu (better yet, shortage) of uniformed personnel performing patrol duties, but also the messiah in reducing crime rates. [3] The recorded footages are used as important evidence in court trials and in the identification of suspects.

HOWEVER, there is no consensus on the effectiveness of public CCTV as a deterrent or an effective mechanism for responding to crime. In fact, there are strong suggestions that the technological fix is overrated and oversold. In practice the value of CCTV is often forensic - as a tool for identifying what happened - rather preventive, something that is unsurprising as some images are not closely monitored, image quality is poor or devices are not working, and help is not readily at hand if the observer does identify an incident.[4]

Some are of view that CCTV merely displaces criminal activity to areas outside the range of the cameras. Likewise, as CCTV is becoming the primary means of crime prevention, more traditional, community based measures have been discarded. CCTV affords a false sense of security, encouraging laziness when we need police to be vigilant. Thus, it only results in underused and misallocated police resources.[5]

In any case, it is undeniable that technological limitations of cameras, organizational limitations of the police and the adaptive abilities of criminals determine the prospects of crime prevention and resolution.

MOREOVER, the proliferation of CCTV cameras in public places has led to some unease about the erosion of civil liberties and individual human rights such as privacy[6], along with warnings of an Orwellian ‘big brother’ culture.[7]

IN SUM, CCTV is very quickly becoming an integral part of crime control policy, social control theory and “Community consciousness” of any nation.[8] As our country become (arguably) an intensely voyeuristic society, are we ready to become “housemates” of the government?

MMDA to put CCTV cameras at loading, unloading bays on EDSA <>
Manila’s new CCTV cameras boost anticrime drive
Caslon Analytics Privacy Guide: CCTV and other cams
Schneier on Security: CCTV cameras <>
[6] City Council defers proposal on CCTV use <>
[8] CCTV Frequently Asked Questions <>

sipang-panimula, anyone?

In 2007, the Coro de Sta. Cecilia joined the Asian Choir Games in Jakarta Indonesia. The group won the highest gold in the musica sacra category. For this endeavor, the choir spent over 200,000 pesos, which it did not have. What it couldn't raise through solicitations and other fundraising activities, it had to borrow. Coro doesn't have a manager so apart from the music, the singers also did all the legwork before and after the competition (to pay off the huge debt).

A group that had its beginnings in the UP Chapel, made up of students and yuppies, it did not have a line to the right channels for funding. Wouldn't it have been great if there had been a site such as Kickstarter ( to have helped fundraising. Kickstarter is a startup that helps artists find funding for their projects and at the same time gives the ordinary person the chance to invest a few dollars in projects they want to support. I was instantly excited by the idea of helping Coro by giving a few bucks (pesos, that is). Unfortunately, projects can only be started by people with a US address and bank account. It would be a good experiment to see if the idea can be adapted in the Philippine setting. It sure would be great to see Coro fulfill its dream of recording an album and joining the Choir Olympics.

Wanted: Cyberbullies

Just last week, New York Supreme Court Judge Joan Madden ruled that a model who was slammed with derogatory terms by an anonymous blogger has the right to learn the identity of her online heckler.
A user of, Google’s blogging service, created “Skanks in NYC”, where it posted pictures of Liskula Cohen, a model, with derogatory captions. With this factual backdrop, the New York Court directed Google to divulge any identifying information it has about the blog’s creator to Cohen. The court cited a Virginia court ruling which held that “the protection of the right to communicate anonymously must be balanced against the need to assure that those persons who choose to abuse the opportunities presented by this medium can be made to answer for such transgressions.”
It was reported that Google has already complied with the order and submitted to Cohen’s legal team the creator’s IP address and e-mail address. With these information, it will now be possible for Cohen to trace the identity of her heckler and sue him/her for defamation.

if you steal music- they'll cut off your...

the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has been creating news in europe by lobbying for a law critics describe as idiotic. the proposal is for law makers to pass a law which penalizes two or three time-internet copyright violators by cutting off their internet connection.

the main drive of this campaign is to limit or control illegal downloading of songs and movies.

fortunately for the european citizenry, the people in their office listen to their constituents. the result is that most of these proposals have been rejected or are about to be rejected as violative of civil liberties and human rights.

i haven't heard of any similar movement in this country, most of the IFPI action has been focused on controlling the more tangible problem of CD-R piracy. if however such proposal reaches our lawmakers, i highly doubt if they would consult ordinary people and oppose powerful recording company members of the IFPI. i hope that they would think that enforcement alone of this proposed law would cause alot of headaches.

Hit "Search" and Don't Forget the Salt

When I reached for the paper today, the Entertainment section fell out of the bundle. The headline of one news item particularly caught my attention:

"Jessica Biel 'most dangerous celeb'"

Huh? I know Jessica Biel is what a lot of guy friends have called "hot" and I myself admit I'd probably climb Mount Everest to have abs like hers but I certainly did not think that her looks could kill.

Well, virtually, that is.

Apparently, according to a study conducted by McAfee, searches on the actress online are more likely to lead to spyware, viruses and other online threats. Last year, the celebrity who could boast of knocking not just women's socks off but also just about anyone's hard drive was Brad Pitt.

This has made me realize how much cybercrime has evolved through the years. When I was in high school, when I was asked what crimes could possibly be committed through the Internet, I could only give two answers: hacking and identity theft. Now it has evolved into so many other things, including the utilization of search engine optimization as illustrated by the Jessica Biel incident.

In search engine optimization, the goal is to get the website as much traffic as possible by making sure that they land among the top hits in a search engine's results page. Such is achieved by editing its content, its HTML codes, embedded images and other codes.

Black Hat SEO is what results to the exposure to malware and other online threats. Unlike its "good" counterpart (called White Hat SEO which complies with the standards set by search engines), Black Hat SEO makes use of underhand tactics to get web traffic and redirect hits to their pages such as keyword stuffing (filling a webpage with keywords either through it meta tags or the content itslf). For instance, they can hide certain keywords within the site itself by making them invisible or positioning them somewhere off screen.

I really miss the days when the Internet was not so popular as it is now, when clicking "search" in Altavista, Ask Jeeves and WebCrawler was not something which should elicit an extra dose of attention and wariness. According to the McAfee study, the most dangerous keywords in general are "free" and "screensaver," indicating that these shady Internet characters do realize that a lot of people online are on the lookout for free stuff. Indeed cyberspace has become the new venue for varying degrees of freedom - whether the hat be black or wite.

RE: The (Former) Blocking of Access to Specific Websites in UP Law

Risky, but well, I’m bored.

Just last week, the previously-blocked Facebook, Twitter, and Multiply sites were once again available for the UP Law students to access. Prior to this, these three websites were blocked by whoever decided to block it. Now, I’m not sure as to why it was blocked exactly, but I remember that a couple of weeks or so before it was blocked, there was news of a memo circulating in the web for the students of the college reminding students to use the internet, specifically Facebook, responsibly, as problems are being caused regarding the college’s allowable bandwidth. And before we know it, these three were down.

Not unless you’re diligent enough, or fit enough, or desperate enough to go to the fourth floor library where you can access UP Dilnet (the campus server), where you can access these sites (Though I hear Friendster’s blocked… Yes, that SO matters.) and be happy for a while.

I do not in any way intend to promote the irresponsible use of the college’s internet connection, being that as students with rights, our rights must be exercised within limits. The use of the college’s internet server, while a facility which we can consider something that we must have access to, must not be abused to the point where damage may be caused to other people such as those who manage the school’s network, other internet users, and so on. But then, if limits are imposed so extensively and irrationally, then doesn’t the right cease to exist?

Let’s be honest; a lot of students do use Facebook A LOT in school and even during class hours. I should know, as I’ve done it once, or twice, or…doesn’t matter, since I don’t do it ALL or MAJORITY of the time. As for Twitter, I think only those who have a star complex, thinking that they’re so important they have followers, have Twitter. Hence, I have one as do a lot of other law students. The fact that these sites are used a lot is not being disputed. What’s disputable, for me, however is the idea that it is the constant access to these sites which may cause trouble for the bandwidth, or that there’s even trouble with the bandwidth in the first place, or that these sites are INHERENTLY and PRESUMABLY detrimental to the students’ education. What exactly was the basis in singling out these websites? Last I checked, these sites did not promote pornography, terrorism, racism, or some vileness that must be condemned (except maybe vanity), so really, why?

These things are not being said merely to seek support for these sites or for, well, indolence, but I think ultimately to discuss the issue as to what could be a valid reason to block non-porn-terrorist-racist, etc. websites in an educational institution which does not infringe upon the right of access to a public school facility.

It’s just the tip of the iceberg, really. ;-)


I wanted to test my self-control last weekend so I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. I’m proud to say that I had been Facebook- free for 5 days. That was until I had to activate it again out necessity since I was trying to locate this message for my best friend.

During those 5 days (that I was fighting the urge to reactivate my account), I decided to check my UP Webmail account where my Facebook notices are sent. To my horror, I was using 115% of my allotted Inbox space. My messages were at five thousand something. I should’ve been more diligent at checking this email address. Or better yet, I should’ve (from the beginning) totally deactivated email notifications from Facebook or its applications. Now why didn’t I do that again? Oh yeah, that’s because they used to block Facebook from Dilnet and so the only way I could check if I had new messages was through this email.

Going back to my dreadfully full Inbox, I began to painstakingly delete the messages per page and then purge the deleted messages after every 5 pages. How tiresome and annoying! Those who use their Webmail account should know this. To top it all off, I get logged out of the Webmail after I purge deleted messages or deleting a couple of pages (hence my limit of 5 pages.) So I have to log in again and again and again. Urgh. Why is it so sloooooow too? Anyway, this is the price I pay for using my school account instead of a Yahoo account where I can just delete everything in a snap!

I’m currently at 96% of my total allotted Webmail space of 25 mb with 4, 424 messages left to deal with. Ooh boy. This is going to be a looooooong night of “purging.” I’ve now learned my lesson. Simplify my virtual life –get rid of the clutter and distractions. ;)

ATM Scams

Two weeks ago, my friend’s bag was stolen in Malcolm Hall and as he called Banco De Oro to block his ATM, less than one hour from the time his bag was stolen, he found out that Php50,000 was already withdrawn from his ATM. He also found out that whoever withdrew the said amount never made a mistake in keying in the PIN Code and that two withdrawals were made, one in West Avenue in Quezon City and the other in Ayala Alabang. This was all done in less than an hour.

Approximately 4 years ago, I attempted to withdraw money from my ATM only to find out that I already exceeded the maximum withdrawals for the day. Not knowing what happened, I asked my mom’s secretary to inquire with China Bank and they told me that within the week I already made withdrawals amounting to Php76,000. I also found out that Php60,000 of the total amount was withdrawn on the same day (the maximum ATM withdrawal for China Bank is Php20,000/day) and that all the withdrawals were made in Makati at the exact same time. To top it all off, my ATM Card wasn’t even stolen. I had it with me the entire time.

Recently, more and more people have suffered through similar experiences. ATM fraud is on the rise. ATM “scams” have become more and more rampant and criminals are becoming more and more sophisticated that I decided to blog about the different ATM scams known by the people at large. Maybe by knowing all this, we will be able to at least do our best to prevent similar things from happening to us or prevent history from repeating itself (in my case).

  1. One scam involves capturing the stored personal identification number (PIN), card number, and other relevant information by skimming the magnetic strip of the ATM card using a specialized scanner. The captured information is then copied to produce a duplicate ATM card, allowing the scammers to make withdrawals without the cardholder’s knowledge. Other scams also involve non-bank installed devices, such as hidden cameras, cloning devices and glued traps. These “skimming” devices may either be used on stolen ATM cards or attached to actual ATM machines. (
  2. One scam involves using fake ATM machines with PCs installed inside. Such fake ATM machines are designed to log card data and the associated PIN numbers of cards used on the machine for later retrieval by hackers. This information will be used to manufacture counterfeit cards that would be used to loot compromised accounts. (
  3. In addition to “skimming” devices, criminals also attach tiny cameras somewhere on the ATM machine so that the information of the screen is recorded as well as a person’s hand punching in the PIN number.
  4. Other clever scam artists have gone so far as to purchase ATM machines of their own which they installed and used to collect account information. Detecting a fake or “bandit” ATM machine is close to impossible.
  5. Hacking, phishing scams and unsolicited emails

Jessica Biel: Most Dangerous Celebrity

Jessica Biel has been named by the security firm McAfee as “the most dangerous celebrity to search in cyberspace this year.”  People who search for Jessica Biel photos, videos, wallpapers and screensavers are said to have a 20% chance of reaching a website with a malicious software.  Being the riskiest search, fans using search engines to search for the words ‘Jessica Biel,’ ‘Jessica Biel downloads,’ or ‘Jessica Biel photos’ have one in 5 chance of landing at a website that is tested to be positive for online threats like spyware, adware, spam, phishing, viruses and other malware, which can cause serious damage to the searcher’s computer.

         Jessice Biel replaced Brad Pitt who was declared on top of the list last year.  McAfee said that the actresses’ figure and her relationship with Justin Timberlake might is the reason that people are avidly googling her.

         Number two on the list is Beyonce who was also in the same place last year.  No. 3 is Jennifer Aniston, no. 4 is Tom Brady (why is Tom Brady no. 4?), no. 5 is Jessica Simpson,  no. 6 Gisele Bundchen, followed by Miley Cyrus.  Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox are tied at no. 8.  Ashley Tinsdale is 9 and Brad Pitt is no. 10.

The data was gathered this July.  Of course, it seems that this is one of McAfee’s way of encouraging people to use its product but it is not really hard to believe the truth of these threats.  Cyber criminals are one to have easily identified the allure of these searches and have maximized such to perpetrate trouble. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Come Again, Counsel

This story happened in court last Monday.

A gray haired man in an expensive-looking suit entered quietly, sat behind me and asked how many cases have already been called by the court. I answered three. Good, we’re fourth, he said.

A few minutes later, his case was called. He stood up, with nothing on hand, signaled to his client, and walked to the center before the judge. He looked confident and eager to argue.

The Clerk of Court then read an Information. It was quite long, enumerating electronic equipment, computers, digital and optical media, and many others, allegedly belonging to the accused.

After the Clerk read the Information:

Lawyer: Your Honor, we have filed a Motion to Quash this Information.

Judge: Yes, yes, it is here. On what ground?

Lawyer: As explained in the motion, this court has no jurisdiction, given the facts and nature of this case, which involves (at this point, the lawyer started referring to, among others, computers, data processing and reproducing, with heavy emphasis on digital and optical data, and cited provisions of law to support his claim)

Judge: (eyes squinted while flipping through the motion) Come again, counsel?

Lawyer: This court has no jurisdiction because this case involves (and again, computer language)

Judge: (looks astounded) Yes, yes.

Lawyer: If I may, Your honor, given the facts and nature of this case, it is the Optical Media Board which has jurisdiction to try and hear it.

Judge: (slowly raising his head, face showing a hint of gleam, as if he had just been saved) Comment or objection, Prosecutor.

Prosecutor: Counsel for the accused has argued ably, your Honor. No objection.

Judge: Very well. Let an order be entered granting the motion to quash the information, without prejudice to the filing of the proper case before the Optical Media Board.

This, I think, illustrates how ill-equipped, and even ill-prepared, our courts are regarding cases involving electronic, digital, and now optical subject matters. It becomes obvious that it is not only the law but the legal system as well, including the people within that system, which has to step up to be arm in arm with modern challenges, such as technology.

An open letter to the Swedish Court which ordered the shutdown of Pirate Bay:

Dear Swedish Court which ordered the shutdown of Pirate Bay:

Good day! I heard on the News that you ordered an Internet Service Provider in the U.S, called Black Internet to stop servicing Pirate Bay. Thus last Monday, the most popular BitTorrent tracker in the world became inaccessible to most U.S. residents. But that was last Monday. And it only affected those who are using Black Internet. I wonder if they still can’t access the site. I could access it right now.

What was the purpose, Mr. Swedish Court for your ruling? You put tissue paper to absorb water on the floor of a boat that’s already sunk. (grabeh sa metaphor mehn)

Oh yes, Mr. Swedish Court, I concede. Of course, it is blatantly illegal – the founders and the members of the site are infringing copyright laws. But, a legitimate Pirate Bay which sells authorized copies of music and film is still a far-fetched idea. Also, I don’t think it would still be called Pirate Bay. Do you not see? Sentencing the founders to a life of doom wouldn’t cure the problem. You are not the solution. Capish? television and the internet.

Dec. 2006 gave birth to the site And as the name suggests it is all about the exploits of a horny manatee ( a guy in a manatee suit); a manatee as a nurse, as an exhibitionist, as a dancer, in a manatee orgy (reminds me of that jolibee Its a gag site not a porn site.

The more interesting about it and the reason im posting it is how the site came to be. It all started out as part of a sketch in Late Night with Conan O'Brian which involved the use of a manatee costume. Conan made a remark about having more manatee material available on which was of course not existent at the time. As the story goes because of his representation on television that there was such a site NBC was forced to purchase the address. I'm not sure but it has something to do with evading any sort of liability.

the ff: are some of the exerpts i was able to scrounge up:

"Horny ManateeDuring the airing of the usual "New College Mascots" sketch, a character called the FSU Webcam Manatee was featured. Conan, in an ad libbed statement, mentioned a then fictitious The next night, Conan told viewers standards department for Late Night explained something to him: if he mentions a web site which doesn't exist, NBC may be held liable for the site's content and NBC to then purchase the domain name. Conan said Late Night then made the web site, giving it the appearance of a fake porn site. The site was bought for 10 years for 159$. Then they decided as they has spent money on it they should build the website. "

"There was no hornymanatee .com on Dec. 4. But the name was mentioned during a gag, so NBC paid $159 for the site and then started to build it."

So in conclusion: if i were a tv host and mentioned a site that doesnt exist 1.) I'll get in some sort of trouble for some form of misdemeanor maybe misrepesentation 2.) In order to save my ass I would have to buy the address and set up a token site. I would understand NBC's concern if the show was a newscast and Late Night with Conan the TALL red haired barbarian is definitely not a newscast. Is this some sort of exception to the leniency granted statements made in jest. Of course it could just very well be that the lawyers wanted to avoid the hassle of going to court to prove it was made in jest. It is cheaper to just make the site.



I had earlier written a piece about the health hazards, particularly to children, that may be attributable to using a computer for a prolonged period of time. I must confess, however, that I have been playing computer games for a long, long time. I doubt if anyone can recall the first game console that came out in the late seventies. It was called Atari. I used to play the table tennis like game that they first introduced. From there I got hooked on the small consoles called Game and Watch. I think I had something like five to ten of those. Next was the Nintendo game console with games like Mario Brothers, Link and many others.

The personal computers then introduced their own games. The first time I played a role playing game in the PC was the time they introduced the game Civilization. My wife would laugh at me because I used to keep the computer on for more than twenty four hours so that I can accumulate loads and loads of money.

Currently, I must admit, I am addicted to on-line poker. I have been playing the game since January this year. And I have accumulated more than $80 million in chips. You cannot imagine the frustrations I feel every time I get beaten by someone who calls an all-in bet despite the fact that he holds non betting cards in the first place but subsequently wins due to the luck of the draw.

Playing the game with other real people gives one an insight to the characteristics of a particular group of people. My current peeve involves Indonesians in general. These guys seem to have only two moves before a flop, all-in or fold. Every time they see a high card in the hole, they invariably would go all-in even if one of the pair is a 2. Playing with them is very exasperating particularly if you have cards that are callable but not in an all-in situation.

What I have learned however is invaluable in so far as I am concerned. I have learned that in playing poker, patience is a virtue. If you lose your patience, you will have the tendency to be very careless and end up losing all your chips. I guess this is true in life, too. As they say, the patient shall inherit the earth.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scared of the Big C

I got my very first credit card a few days ago; and it scares the living **** out of me.

All my life, I've been hearing horror stories about credit cards, credit standing and credit history. I've seen overcharging of interests, compounding of late fees, and worse , credit card fraud! With all these fears, it's no wonder I still haven't activated my card.

But of course, I have to cross that line some time. We live in a constantly evolving world where the credit card along with other ICT innovations have ceased to become luxuries but rather necessities. To live in eternal fear of the technological unknown would mean getting left behind by my peers... my children... the world!

And so, I bid goodbye to my old supplemental/extension credit card from my parents account, and say hello to the risks that come with having a card of my own. It will definitely be so much scarier purchasing from eBay or Amazon now. Oh fun!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Songs in the Public Domain

At the end of the Simpsons Season 18 episode 1 ( Homer sang "public domain songs."

Apparently under U.S. Copyright Law, songs published before 1922 are now part of the public domain which means the formerly copyrighted work can now be freely used. For a list of this ultra-old school songs check

I was excited to have copies of these songs, however, from what I remember of Intellectual Property Law, the song itself or the songsheet itself may be in the public domain, however, the rendition of the song still is copyrighted and belongs to the performer, therefore, "twinkle, twinkle, little star" as sung by Homer Simpson, still is not in the public domain.

So much for my plan of using only public domain songs in a video project. However, since copyrights eventually pass into public domain its just a matter of waiting, unless Congress grants extensions. From researching on the topic, I found the following rules in accordance to U.S. copyright law although uncited in the webpage that I will be citing:

  • Published before 1923 - now in public domain

  • Published from 1923 to 1963 - When published with a copyright notice © or "Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]" - copyright protection lasts 28 years and could be renewed for an additional 67 years for a total of 95 years. If not renewed, now in public domain.

  • Published from 1923 to 1963 - When published with no notice - now in public domain

  • Published from 1964 to 1977 - When published with notice - copyright protection lasts 28 years for first term; automatic extension of 67 years for second term for a total of 95 years.

  • Created before 1/1/1978 but not published - copyright notice is irrelevant - copyright protection lasts for the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2002, whichever is greater

  • Created before 1/1/1978 and published between 1/1/1978 and 12/31/2002 - notice is irrelevant - copyright protecion lasts the life of author and 70 years or 12/31/2047, whichever is greater

  • Created 1/1/1978 or after - When work is fixed in tangible medium of expression - notice is irrelevant - copyright protection lasts for the life of author and 70 years based on the the longest living author if jointly created or if work of corporate authorship, works for hire, or anonymous and pseudonymous works, the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation.
The above is from (visited August 25, 2009)

I guess I may not be able to see Flo Rida songs pass into the public domain in my lifetime.


There's finally a rehab center in the US for persons suffering from internet and video game addiction. The problem isn't new and it is a clearly recognized problem similart to problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex. Nor is the problem an inherently western-world problem... As you guys may know China has the largest population of "connected persons" and Korea is one of the most high internet use penetration and density (ratio of users to total population) and this is a problem they have been dealing with. I remember reading something about a person who died in front of his home pc he couldnt leave his online MMORPG character.

Here are some of the symptoms mentioned in the article of IAD.

"1.Using online services everyday without any skipping
2.Getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and checking email before returning to bed
3.Losing track of time after making a connection
4.Spending more and more time on the internet and less and less time with ‘real life’ friends
5.Spending less time on daily chores to allow more time on the computer
6.Eating meals while sitting at the computer
7.Minimizing the time you spend online when someone asks you about it
8.Sneaking onto the internet when family isn’t around to make you feel guilty about it
9.Taking time at work to go online, letting your work slide
10.Significant others complaining about the amount of time you spend on the internet
11.Fantasizing about being online when you aren’t
12.Work, relationships, study and life suffer because of the time you spend on the internet
13.You lose sleep because of staying on the internet late into the night
14.You get irritable and snap when someone interrupts your concentration while you are online"

Hmmmm... I dont think I'm suffering from IAD though I do spend a LOT of time online, even to the point of Eating in front of the comp...and daydreaming about my next move for my online games. Why not? I know I can stop any time...(hahahaha. and so i've heard so many smokers tell me)

-paul dennis tangangco

Is This True?

We have always emphasized the benefits that advances in communications have brought us. And we believed in the information that has been relayed to us through either text messages or through pass-on e-mails. Over and over again we get the same messages since, I would imagine, we travel through the same social network.

Unfortunately, not all the messages we receive are true or even near the truth. If you will recall the Pangandaman incident at the Valley Golf, all the messages were pointing to the Pangandamans as the bullies at the golf course. The condemnations against the family of the Agrarian Reform Secretary were quick and practically universal. Being a politician, everyone had a mental picture of a bully raising a family of bullies. Hence, everyone took the news as gospel truth. After an investigation by the management of Valley Golf, lo and behold, the other parties were the ones suspended. While the Pangandamans were not entirely exonerated, it turned out that there was provocation on the part of the other party that triggered the fisticuffs.

As it turned out, the other family was actively using the internet and individual members had access to various e-groups. They were able to disseminate the news (at least their version of what had transpired) very quickly. The Pangandamans were not really netizens and as such could not immediately get out their side of the story.

How I wish that there is a “truth-o-meter” in every news we receive. The meter will tell us whether the story or news is credible or not. Whether it has been confirmed or verified. Otherwise, we all get confused if both sides of the story or news have the means to tell their side of the story.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

To: Rob Pattinson
From: Your #1 [online] fan

I admit, I google you everyday.

Last week, though, I felt a pang of guilt after reading one article about you. It read, Rob Pattinson: Twitter has ruined my life. In it, you were quoted as saying, “Because of internet stuff and Twitter, there will be a crowd if you are in a place for more than half an hour...I’ve learned never to stay in the same place for more than 20 minutes.”

Like you, I would freak out if hordes of people follow me around and knew my every move. I would also feel weird about random strangers knowing my birthday, shoe size, the contents of my pantry, my family members’ names, etc. But you’re right, it’s not completely OUR fault. The internet is responsible for this hysteria! It’s the spinach to Popeye, the mitochondria to eukaryotic cells. It feeds us fangirls with all sorts of information (and images!) that makes us more obsessed everyday. It powers our fantasies and sometimes gives us a different sense of reality. It makes us feel close to you in spirit, like we know you and you know us. And with the combined forces of network sites, forums and fansites, we are unstoppable— a force your bodyguards need to reckon with. We can replicate Beatlemania with one tweet.

While I am not guilty of physically following you around, I’m guilty of diligently following you online. Sorry, Robert, for sort of invading your privacy. Sorry, too, because I can’t promise to stop doing it. After all, you're just a click away.

[Disclaimer: As with a lot of stuff you read on the internet, this article may be a bit exaggerated to prove a point. But I do ♥ Rob Pattinson! Hahaha!]

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Audio,Video,Disco (i listen,i watch, i learn)

The world wide web is like a humongous library, full of information represented by different medium, there‘s plain text, still images, videos, music and other audio files. Lately, I noticed that I have become heavily dependent on the Internet for information. I Google almost everything. From definition to translation, I even Google word spelling. Not only do I watch my favorite shows in YouTube, It is also full of instructional and educational videos. From history to cosmetics, you can sure finds instructions in YouTube. For life instructions, I always find YouTube very handy. I consult it for my DIY (do-it-yourself) situations like cooking, putting on make-up, removing stains, making sushi, work out routines and a myriad other things.

Admittedly, the internet is a dangerous source of information for the undiscerning. My friend who teaches in a school in Taft Avenue once told me that she gets so frustrated when checking her students’ term papers because either the paper does not acknowledge sources or the source is Wikipedia or worse it’s a combination of the two. But there are good stuff here, online journals offer information for free, we can also watch educational videos from You tube has partnered with Universities like Harvard NS University of California and hosts videos for them for the consumption and information of the general public and select audience.

It is a jungle of information, the World Wide Web. We should be discerning as consumers, we can’t just take what’s published online because there is no regulation as to the veracity of the information. A discerning mind can truly listen, watch and learn online.

Friday, August 21, 2009

bukas-friendster gang

We all have that annoying friend who remains a friend just because he or she makes the everyday exciting with non-linear dialogue and obvious insecurity. I had a friend like that, and one of those days when I was bored in the library, the barkada decided on another trip that the annoying friend will hopefully forgive.

It was a busy day and our friend went to lunch and left his book on a library table. Another friend quickly highlighted his book, highlighting the most mundane provisions, I thought that that was cruel until we followed our annoying friend into the computer lab.

The friend just logged out and surprisingly, after he logged out we were able to hit the "back" button and his friendster page was displayed. My friend with the highlighter decided to post a message about gender preference, and even changed the profile. Now both of them are lawyers in the same firm, my friend with the highlighter never owned up to the deed. Although in moments of drunkeness he refers to our barkada as "The Bukas-Friendster Gang."

I discovered that you can download key-logger software at


The word netbook is portmanteau of the words “internet” and “notebook”.
In 2007, Asus unveiled the Asus Eee PC, which is considered as the first commercially available netbook. Since then, many computer companies followed and released their own versions of this mini laptop. For a short period of time, netbooks have taken quite a significant market share away from laptops. This is basically because it is low-cost but highly portable and efficient little laptops.
Almost all brands of netbooks have displays of 7- to 10-inch range and all are easy to tote around. Nearly all offers several USB ports, a webcam, LED backlit screens, integrated speakers, Wi-Fi and more, so there are very few differentiators. But the many choices in this nascent netbook market can overwhelm, so the following are some of the things you can consider before buying one for yourself:
1. Use: You must consider for what purpose you would most likely use your netbook. This will give you an ideal what specs you need.
2. Size: Well, if you have big fingers and poor eyesight, may a 7-inch netbook is not appropriate for you.
3. Weight: If love to carry around your netbook, weight will surely matter. An extra half pound of weight doesn’t seem like very much but when you add that to an already packed gear bag it can get awfully heavy by the end of a long day.
4. Battery life: Extended battery life means a heavier netbook. For people who will just their netbooks in their homes, battery life may not be a factor. But if your needs are more mobile, then it’s worth considering the battery life of your options.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saturday Photo Fun?

Last saturday, the batch had its photo taken for the yearbook. Judging from the photos posted on facebook, it looks like i missed out on a fun activity. Class schedules are as many as there are students now, so blockmates don't see each other so much anymore. It was thus inevitable that blockmates were excited to see each other. But last night, i learned that the pictorials wasn't all that fun for everyone. A friend of mine lost his bag in between photo shoots. Luckily for him, his house keys were on him. Unfortunately, his laptop and wallet with all sorts of IDs and cards, including ATM cards were in his bag. He found out from the bank that not 30 minutes from the time he last saw his bag, several withdrawals had already occured. The wierd thing is that the first withdrawal was in Alabang, about 15 minutes after the bag went missing. The even wierder thing is that in all the transactions, there was never an error in entering the pin.

My instant thoughts were (1) if there's a machine that allows you to input a password, there's another one that can extract it; (2) since you inputed something, it was stored somewhere, available for someone/thing to read, whether or not authorized; (3) if there's a machine that can put a set of data in your card, that machine or something like it can do it again, on a different card; and (4) thanks to the SLEX, Alabang is really not so far anymore, given the proper traffic conditions or a maniacal driver.

My husband and i discussed this and we both agreed that it was a good thing that we empty out our ATMs regularly. But what does this say about the security of bank information with the internet in place. The internet, is, per se, neutral. It just so happens to be intrinsically open. I mean, it's not the bad element that made my friend lose a huge amount of money. What makes banking scary is the people who use the facilities of the internet and digital information to earn their dishonest living.

The Next Frontier

During medieval times, he who had land was deemed lord. As the industrial age dawned, and mass production entered the scene, he who had the people and the factories controlled the economy. Today, we live in an age of information and technology, where the billionaires are the geeks [and they don't even need to leave their rooms to earn]. IN THE FUTURE, when the internet finally spreads to every corner of the globe, and becomes accessible to every individual, then power rests in the hands of the providers: those who allow lightning-quick sharing of information.

Once the internet and its information-sharing capabilities become available to each and every person, and indispensable to each and every business, then control of humankind will be left to ISP's such as Verizon, AOL, or PLDT and BayanTel in the Philipines.

Imagine this: several years ago, when texting was just beginning to become a fad in this country, messages were sent free of charge. Globe and Smart waited until the time when Filipinos could no longer live without texting; and that's when they started charging ridiculous rates. Now, we are at the mercy of these service providers. When this happens to the internet, at a time when we just couldn't live without it, our lives will be held by the ISP's. Oh no...

Where Will Superman Change Now?

I saw a CNN feature on phone booths in Manhattan. It turns out that there are only four old-fashioned outdoor phone booths – the kind where Clark enters and out comes Superman, the ones with accordion doors, which you can shut to have privacy and silence, and often with phone books inside – left working right now.

Most public pay phones (the few of them left) have been replaced with open-booths -- those which have narrow panels on each side and no door to lock. These are easier to maintain, takes up less space, and costs less. It has also taken away the privacy of the caller and the opportunity to talk in silence.

There are of course many other pay phones in Manhattan, but they are indoors, such as in apartment buildings and condominiums. Some may keep them because they think these are still of importance, and some may have them installed to get away with maintaining a more costly private in-house phone line.

Questions now are no longer what type of phone booth to erect, but rather what do we need phone booths for. Emergencies maybe. Unforeseen circumstances perhaps. But with the proliferation of other technological means, its use and importance dwindles.

We have cell phones anyway which we can take anywhere we go plus the convenience minus the bulk. After all, if you really want to talk in private and with little noise, you can always bring your handy, portable little cell phone with you to your room at home, or to a quiet corner, or even to a bathroom stall.

Ate's New "Racket"

One of my favorite cousins lives in Batangas with her family. Aside from texting, every now and then, we would chat over YM and call each other over the landline given that it’s cheaper to make NDD calls now.

So this afternoon, I called her to check on her and rant about some things. She said that being a housewife bored her to death and that she was now looking for a job over the net-the type where you work from home. Apparently, the wife of our other cousin introduced such concept to her.

She began to explain to me that she registered on this website (I forget! Sorry!) and that she had to bid for certain projects and await the result of the bid for about 2 to 5 days. She’s eyeing that data processing project I think. This will earn her about Php 20,000 a month. Not bad considering that she’s just going to stay home and she could still tend to her kids.

The world is constantly changing and people are indeed performing more transactions over the Internet. Whoever thought that people who have never interacted or met each other would be able to collaborate on projects such as those on said websites and upon completion tender payment via bank deposits. No need for human face to face interaction indeed.

Considering that we’re in recession and a lot of people are getting laid off work, I think this is a viable option for housewives or even those currently unemployed to augment their household’s income. Parents can be with their kids more and yet at the same time earn.

Now imagine if during the time of my mum this was already viable. Since she’d have a lot of time in her hands (as I heard 4-5 hours per day will do per project), she’d probably forever be breathing down my neck and following me everywhere I go. Oh no! Thank you for coming a decade too late, “work-from-home” jobs. Haha! Kidding, mum! =)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I have been at this since 1 this morning and as the clock strikes 8:30, I find the entire experience to be both stressful and slightly hilarious even if it is akin to waiting for the bar exam results.

"This" refers to waiting for the results of the medical licensure examinations. My best friend took the exams for two weekends and she told me that the list of those who successfuly passed the exam should have come out last night, at the latest today. As of this writing, there are no updates from either of our ends. The results were supposed to be posted in the official website of the PRC and when I checked with Google last night, all other sites such as blogs and forums were also announcing that they too would post the results as soon as they were ready.

That all together struck me as surreal. My parents took the board exams back in the 70s and the results of their board exams came out after about five or six months. My best friend, on the other hand, hurdled the last cluster of exams on Sunday and the waiting period for her had been drastically reduced to just a number of days. Back during my parents' time, the results were posted on reams of paper and people had to fall in line to check if their names were on the list. With the advent of the Internet, my best friend and I need not go anywhere but just sit in front of the computer and wait. Not only that, to factor in a human element to the torture, as I browsed through forum posts and comments to blog entries, I practically felt the anxiousness of the med students who took the examination as they put their ordeal to tangible form through blog comments and forum posts...people I didn't even know. I figured that generally, the advances in communications technology had certainly done their part in making the wait slightly less unpleasant.

I was browsing through a blog site which was creative enough to make a red, flashing marquee-like header for the medical licensure exam results. I was not sure exactly if that helped with soothing the stress levels but the blog entry claimed that the passing rate was about 70% according to a source. People then started posting comments to the blog entry until finally someone named Vince wrote that he had a leaked copy of the results. The inquiries then came like a flood with people asking if Mr. So and So or Miss XYZ was in the list. He answered some of the inquiries but gave vague answers like, "Two of the three from School ABC did not make it." Then as quickly as he came, Vince just disappeared from the deluge of very angry med students who finally figured out he was taking them for a joy ride.

I thought it was cruel for someone to turn someone else's anxiety into web fodder. These people, like my best friend and me, had been waiting since the wee hours of the morning for the results and it certainly was not funny to make up some story about having a leaked copy of the results. As a matter of fact, I thought it was downright inhumane.

I am sure as you are reading this, you must be wondering why I didn't think of visiting the most reliable source online for the results of the physicians licensure exam. I did figure early on that the best way to get the news was through the official website of the PRC ( But, as they say, when it rains, it pours. And this applies to almost all things, I suppose, including stress-inducers.

Before visiting any other blog site at 1 in the morning, I had first typed in the URL for the official PRC website in the address bar of my browser and waited for the page to load. Voila! I didn't get a website which hinted at a website of the PRC! Instead, I got a maroon background with some text written inside a box. An icon of a police officer was pictured on the left hand corner of the box and the page carried a warning that the PRC website was classified by Google as an "attack site." When I clicked a button to provide me with more information, I found out that when Google tested the PRC site, malware was downloaded and installed without the user's consent.

I sighed as the comments of seething rage continued to be hurled at Vince in the blog site. I wasn't about to tell my best friend to just unplug the computer and go to the PRC but sometimes, there are things such as Vinces and viruses which you don't worry about when you're simply falling in line and waiting for reams of paper to make their grand appearance.

Patrolling the High Seas

"What progress we are making. In the Middle Ages they would have burned me. Now they are content with burning my books. "~Sigmund Freud (1933)

That was censorship in the 1930’s era. As societal values evolve, as State priorities change, and as the media of information advance, the rationale, extent and the form of censorship also revolutionize. NOW, in the digital age where information is accessed conveniently through cyberspace, internet filtration is the contemporary mode of expurgation.

Indeed, akin to the High Seas, cyberspace is not defined by any territorial boundaries. From a practical point of view, no one community's standards can govern the type of speech allowable on the Internet. Thus, governments all over the world are confronted with the ultimate challenge on to how to police and exercise jurisdiction over Internet activities that serve as avenues for the perpetration of crimes (such as terrorism, pornography, and cybercrimes) and that raze the fundamental values and norms of society. In fact, most of these crimes are executed outside of one's country and in an intricate modus operandi wherein seizure of its perpetrators would be arduous, if not impracticable. Hence, unless such predicament is constructively addressed through the creation of treaties and international covenants (such as WWW founder Dr. Vince Cerf’s proposal on creating international agreements on what is acceptable network behavior or not), the state's traditional exercise of police power may yield to the use of the Information Superhighway.

On the other side of the spectrum, some are of the view that regulation of cyberspace would only not be impracticable/impossible but also unconstitutional.

In terms of practicality, the fact that the Web is almost entirely privately owned is a major obstacle to such control. Hence, a different governance structure made up of multiple stakeholders (consisting of the owners, the customers, the government and the public) and not solely of the government is ideal.

In terms of constitutionality, as the Internet is a contemporary form of mass media that squarely falls within the framework of constitutionally protected speech, its regulation may run afoul against our present Bill of Rights, which provides:

"Sec. 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances."

Such stance can find solace in the Ashcroft vs. ACLU case, wherein the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit enjoining the enforcement of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) because the law "likely" violated the free-speech clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

On a personal note, the solution is not censorship but education of the users. The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion.[1]

Equipped with IT education, anyone-not just the press, the lawyers, the policy makers--can use the Cyberspace to hold media and political institutions accountable and to guarantee that the truth is revealed.

[1] Commager, Henry Steele

1. “Internet Freedom of Speech” <>
2.Fonseca, P.; “Cerf sees government control of Internet failing” <>
3. Soriano, J.; “Internet Decency Regulation vs. Free Speech(The US Case of Ashcroft vs. ACLU) <>
4. Toral, J.; “Is Internet Censorship Inevitable?” <>
5. Wikipedia; “Internet Censorship” <>

Monday, August 17, 2009

The perils of an “open” relationship

Our last discussion made me remember a conversation I had with a friend who just broke up with her boyfriend. She asked her ex to change his password so she won’t be tempted to open his email again. Here’s the rest of the [edited] conversation:
Friend: We used to read each other’s mails. We’re that open. Weren’t you like that with [my ex]?

Me: I opened his email a few times because he asked me to. I never opened anything except the ones he asked me to read over the phone.

Friend: You never checked if he’s flirting or talking way too much with someone?

Me: No.

Friend: Even after you’ve broken up? See if there’s already another girl?

Me: No! Omg, is that why you check?

Friend: Duh.

It’s surprising how much damage a person can inflict on you just by having access to your email. The most obvious is invasion of privacy. It can also be used to cause you slight hassles or embarrassment. Worse, your account may be used for online activities that can, in the end, make you a victim (like the story in class), or maybe the accused (online fraud?). In a way, your account is like an extension of yourself and giving away your password is like giving a part of yourself for another person to manipulate. So yeah, it’s just reasonable to get that part of yourself back after a break-up. Remember: a password, unlike love, is not something that you give away.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The death of vacations...

With the advent of the blackberry, many friends have started complaining that wherever they go their work follows them. This was illustrated last summer when we were at the beach and one of our friends was busy plugging away at her blackberry because a client sent an urgent e-mail that have to be responded to immediately.

In today's inquirer, there was an article that would insure that more work would be able to follow us around wherever we go. Microsoft Office would now apparently be bundled into the latest generation phones of Nokia. They would be running on the Symbian OS and would allow the handling of documents and spreadsheets and worse yet databases from anywhere!!!

Now, the excuse that I am out of the office would practically be nil and that bosses would be able to reach us wherever we may go. A friend once commented that she would refuse such a phone even if it was office issued but if it was made mandatory...what can one do?

Ostensibly, this is towards a goal of increased efficiency but there's been increasing evidence that one must take time out from work and study so that one may be able to view the work from a different perspective. This has been corroborated but a great number of studies some of which was published by such institutions as the Harvard School of Medicine.

I fear that increasing use of such technology would be a crimp in a professional's ability to be creative and that rote solutions would be utilised because the person would be exhausted.

Hopefully, this new development of technology would not be used in such manner by companies but if such are used, there should be safeguards so that burnout of their employees may be avoided.

The need for a NBN

During the last couple of days, my internet access has been on the fritz. For some reason, the wifi kept getting disconnected from my service provider. I thought for a while that it was my router that was the problem but after I got it back from the service center, they said that it was working fine. So I called up my provider and found out that it was they who had a problem.

During the period of slow internet access, I got to think that maybe it would have been better if we did have a National Broadband Network. I admit that at first I was one of the skeptics as to the need of such since our country had other more pressing concerns. However, I now realize how unfair it is for our countrymen who are living in far flung that are unable to access the internet.

The internet is a medium that was originally used only for simple exchange of data but now it is a necessity for normal functioning of society. Furthermore, businesses have latched on to it and many can't do business without it. Thus it is a neceessary tool for the development of our different businesses. Also, I found that what I missed most when I lost access was the ability to access the vast amounts of information in the net. It used to be that I had to look everything up in the 30 volume Encyclopedia Britannica in our library but now all I had to do was to google it.

So maybe there is merit to the contention that we need the NBN for a country's development and it is not only the development of our public officers' wallets.

Internationally Well-Known Marks

According to Section 3 of the Intellectual Property Code, any person who is a national or who is domiciled or has a real and effective interest in a country which is a party to any convention, treaty or agreement to which the Philippines is also a party or complies with the principle of reciprocity, are entitled to the same and even more benefits than those granted to Filipinos in the Intellectual Property Code. By implementing the TRIPS Agreement, owners of internationally well-known marks may prevent the use of their trademarks on goods or services which are similar and dissimilar to those in respect of which a trademark is registered. Thus, in the Philippines, if a mark is considered by the appropriate authorities to be an internationally well-known mark, Filipinos are prevented from using the same, similar or colorable imitation of such mark in related, non-related, competing and non-competing goods.

I believe that such is unfair to Filipinos. In the Philippines, the ultimate test of trademark infringement is the likelihood of confusion to the buying public. Furthermore, a person is prevented from registering a trademark which is confusingly similar to the trademark of a prior user or registrant. Such limitations apply only to related and competing goods as well as goods which flow through the same channels of trade. However, when it comes to internationally well-known marks, Filipinos are prevented from registering or are liable for trademark infringement even when their trademark is used on non-related and non-competing goods and on goods which do not flow on the same channels of trade. It would seem that the Intellectual Property Code grants a much wider protection to internationally-well known marks than to marks of Filipinos.

Although I agree that internationally well-known marks should be granted broad protection due to extensive advertising and promotion, such protection should be at par to the protection granted to Filipinos. Filipinos should be prevented from using internationally well-known marks only on related and competing goods and goods which flow through the same channels of trade. If there exists no likelihood of confusion to the buying public as a result of a Filipinos’ use of a mark similar to an internationally well-known mark, then there should be no trademark infringement and such Filipino should be allowed to register such mark.

Indulgence for Indolence

As Rizal claims that the indolence of the Filipinos is predominantly due to the scorching weather of the country, our contemporary Congress is the living and continuing testament to the contrary. Living and working in an air-conditioned environment, our beloved Representatives have yet to act on the Cybercrime Bill, which has been in its office for the last five years.

Indeed as the country strengthens its foothold as Asia’s major business process outsourcing hub, it becomes more patent that the existing Internet statute of the country- Republic Act 8792 or the E-Commerce Act, is plainly scarce to address the multitude circumstances of cybercrime. Ironically, as the country pushes for an e-government modernization, the very protection for such aspiration remains at standstill. Likewise, the recent Hayden Kho sex video scandals brought to the forefront the dearth of the Optical Media Act of 2003 in terms of online piracy as such law falls short in determining the link between the proliferation of sexual videos online and in optical media such as digital video discs (DVDs) and video compact discs (VCDs).[1]

As to VAWC cases, our Philippine National Police has been using Republic Act 9208 (the Anti-Trafficking Persons Act) to hunt down online predators and further computer-facilitated crimes against women and children. Unfortunately, such crimes against women and children have become worse due to the trouble-free distribution of images and videos by the populace via mobile phones and other gadgets. This disheartening scenario is further aggravated by the general difficulty of local police force in addressing these offenses.

The government may not have been remissed in attempting to create anti-cybercrime groups in the past.[2] YET, as our laws remain stagnant to the changing and developing times, cohorts of the legendary BOY BASTOS will continue to prosper and proliferate in cyberspace. Perhaps, in the near future, they too would become National Artists for the (Independent) Film category.


[1] Romero, Purple “Sex scandal bares need for cybercrime law”
(2) The first was in 2004 with the creation of the Task Force for the Security of Critical Infrastructure headed by Abraham Purruganan. It laid out a long-term National Cybersecurity Plan that was not implemented.Another was the Government Computer Security and Incident Response Team led by the PNP. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) also has its Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division.

1. GMANews.TV " Batas vs cyber crime isinulong" <>
2. Oliva, Erwin; "Microsoft helps train RP law enforcers on cybercrime" <>
3. Villafancia, Alexander; “RP still lacks cybercrime laws” <>
4. Villafancia, Alexander; “CICT forms its own cybercrime unit” <>

One couch at a time

I recently went out with a high school friend who was hosting an Irish guy. Apparently, there’s this new social networking thing called CouchSurfing - new since I’ve only recently heard of it but when I checked out their site, it’s been in existence since 2004.

Membership to CouchSurfing is free. It simply requires online registration. The core activity of the organization is the exchange of accommodation or surfing. Acting as a host, a member offers the possibility of accommodation. Acting as a surfer, a traveler may search for and request accommodation at his destination. The website then serves as a way for members to coordinate contacts and home accommodation with other users from around the world.

My friend explained to me the set-up. My reaction was ‘are you serious?! Have you ever tried it?’ The Irish we took around was his second surfer and my friend admitted that he has never surfed in his travels. My chief concern about this kind of set-up was safety. So how safe was it? This was how it addressed the safety concerns - the website allows the creation of extensive profiles and uses an optional credit card verification system, a personal vouching system and personal references. It also offers other features such as discussion groups, events and meetings.

I actually wouldn’t mind having a stranger sleep in my house (house=entire family+helpers, haha) for a couple of days since I can appreciate what CouchSurfing aims to do. It wants to force an interaction. So instead of staying in a hotel and sightseeing on your own, you are then forced to see more through a local’s perspective. However, I don’t think I can see myself surfing in someone’s couch. I honestly don’t think that I can trust the information that I can find online.

Funny. That with all the social networking things that are suddenly sprouting and its obvious addictiveness, I still feel a bit hesitant about it. I just think that when you’re online, you can create a whole new different persona which can only be verified upon a face-to-face meeting.