Sunday, March 21, 2010


desmayoralgo (entry #14)

I think the best Japanese contribution to mankind is the karaoke. We've heard about how people kill each other because karaoke songs weren't sung right. But here's an interesting article about how the karaoke was used to jumpstart an ICT project: It talked about a poor community that refused introduction of technology but asked for a karaoke.

If you have a weird Venn diagram fascination like I do, check this site out:

Because he is Pacquiao.

desmayoralgo (entry #13)

I never really cared much for anything Manny Pacquiao, but I came across this GQ article ( online, and it was just so brilliantly written that I spent the next two hours researching his life. I think it's even more brilliant that GQ articles are posted online now. I think it costs some six hundred pesos for an actual copy. And had this article not been online, I wouldn't have been able to read it. And I wouldn't have had a newfound appreciation for Manny Pacquiao. I think it's great when publishers offer stuff for free, saves us from all the legal issues to deal with.

TUMBLR: Twitter + Blogger

desmayoralgo (entry #12)

I am forever in search of the perfect online platform for my nonsensical ramblings, but I think I found my soulmate in Tumblr. Like Twitter, you can follow people (real or imaginary), but you're not limited to 140 characters -- you have the full arsenal of what Blogger offers...text, photos, videos, audio. And then some: there's a chat feature. But it's really not for the heavier attention-seekers, as it does not allow for commenting. On the other hand, blog posts can be reblogged by followers -- without your permission -- which kind of brings out privacy issues. But altogether I think it's awesome.

On the radio.

desmayoralgo (entry #11)

[Jason here was singing Hallelujah, and it took ten million adjustments for the lens to not focus-fail]

I was without the internet for five days, and I wouldn't have heard about Jason Castro's mall tour (yeah, I am aware of how totally embarrassing this is -- the screaming fangirls there were, on the average, twelve years old) if it hadn't been for the radio. I'd forgotten how useful the radio could be. Well, since the iPod was invented.

Anyway, about Jason Castro. See, the problem with American Idol is that you can't vote if you live anywhere outside of the United States. But during the height of the Archuleta-Cook drama, there was this software that claimed to override the system and register calls made from, say, the Philippines and send ten votes per call. I was thinking at that time: is it a crime to call and press 3 and vote for Jason Castro? And be punished for what...hacking?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

The NEW WEALTH(iest)

Ten days ago, Forbes Magazine released its annual list of the world's richest. Surprise, surprise, Bill Gates isn't the world's wealthiest man anymore! According to Forbes, Carlos Slim Helu (above) is the first non-U.S. citizen since 1994 to become the world's richest man. He is Mexican but is of Lebanese descent. He surged to the top spot ($53.5 billion) due to the outstanding performance of his telecom holdings America Movil and Telefonos de Mexico. A close second ($53 billion) is Bill Gates (below, left) and sinking to third ($47 billion) is the Oracle of Omaha, investment guru Warren Buffett (below, right).

Its interesting to note that Warren Buffett held the top spot in 2008 before Bill Gates took it back from him last year. Some insights may be gained from analogies derived from this new developments. Bill Gates made his billions in software thru Microsoft. He could represent the new hi-tech industries. Warren Buffett could stand for the old guard. He avoids new technology that he doesn't understand and invests in the tried and tested like his largest holdings: Coca-Cola, Gillette, property insurance company GEICO, the Washington Post and railroad company Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Now, Carlos Slim Helu is king of the hill. He represents the middle-ground. These are industries that have successfully adapted to the changes brought by the new while retaining the stability of the old. What companies better represent these industries than America Movil and Telefonos de Mexico? They are the PLDT of Mexico and other American countries. These companies made a successful transition from the copper telephone lines of old into the fiber-optic cables that are the physical infrastructure of the information age. Foresight coupled with the ability to adapt to changing times and a bit of luck perhaps, allowed them to hold the enviable position of owning the toll bridges of the Information Superhighway.
(14th entry)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Facing Facebook

To appeal in all cases allowed and in the manner provided by law… I never was into social networking sites. Back when Friendster was the hottest, I never had an account. Out of pity, my cousin who was then in high school made one for me but I never used it. Even Multiply is just an arithmetic operation to me. Perhaps I'm just not into virtual connections. I prefer face to face meetings. Yes, that's right. I prefer the warmth of a handshake to the cold glare of a computer monitor. Or maybe I was just making excuses.

This semester, one of my classes required us to post news and updates related to our subject in a Facebook group. Of the 40 or so in class, I was one of only two people who raised their hand when those who had no Facebook account were counted. I felt so "primitive" that I failed to muster the courage look up and see who the other guy was. Bless him whoever he is. I was one person away from being: That guy with no Facebook account. Some probably looked at me and wondered if I came from another planet.

So here I am facing Facebook. And what faces I met. Faces I last saw ten or even twenty years ago, I now get to see again everyday. Who would have thought I'll get re-connected with a Grade Two classmate who emigrated to the U.K. fifteen years ago? And I didn't realize we could have high school reunions everyday. I get to see my high school classmates from around the world, most with older faces, some showing off their kids, all still with that smile that makes it worthwhile to go back to the good old days.

I didn't realize how fast I could connect with old friends. But I also didn't realize how addicting it could be. And how distracting in these days of final exams. Wait, where was I? Oh, Arraignment and Plea, Rule 116. HmmSection 1. how made. The accused must be arraigned before the court where the complaint… Oh darn, my farm is dying! How do I water these plants?! Oh, there it is! Whew, now they're growing again. Wait, where was I, again?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Right to internet access

Reuters reported that Google is 99.9% certain to close its operations in China. This follows the company’s long struggle against censorship by the Chinese government, the most recent of which were the “attacks” on Google and other companies which allegedly originated in China. I find this ironic because just last week I read a news article from BBC saying that a survey conducted on 27,000 adults across 26 countries in the world revealed that almost 4 out of 5 people believe that internet access is a fundamental human right. Well, obviously, people in the Chinese government don’t agree.

This gives rise to my question -- is it enough that people have access to the internet?
What about the content or the information which is available to them? I believe the basis for this view of internet access as a right, is the individual’s right to information which almost every state in the world recognizes. Therefore, it is not so much that people should be able to use to the internet. What is more important is to ensure that people have access to the great wealth of information that is supposedly available on the web. So when this information is severely limited, the right of the people is prejudiced.

I concede that it is the right and duty of the government to regulate the content of the sites that are available to its people, for the sake of public interest. For instance, I have no problem with it blocking sites that are purported to be vehicles for pedophiles and human traffickers. But it is altogether another issue to ban the proliferation of information which is “offensive” to the ruling party and its political interests.

So I wonder what will come after Google’s impending pull out from China. Will other search engine operators follow suit soon? But I have a feeling Microsoft and other competitors of Google will take advantage of this opportunity to grab a bigger slice of the Chinese cyber market. In this case, it could be a “hurrah” for the businesses but a “boo” for the Chinese people.

Blog 14

Monday, March 15, 2010

On Crossed Fathers and Digital Crossings

Our last meeting's discussion reminded me of a girl I met about ten years ago. She came from one of the far flung municipalities in our province and like me, came here to study for college. She used to stay with one of my former high school classmates who was also studying here. That's how I came to know her.

I can't remember a time when this girl was not sitting in front of her PC. Every time I visited their apartment, she would be there tapping at the keys and smiling at her camera. She would spend a lot of her hours on the net and a lot of her allowance on prepaid internet cards. We concluded then that she was addicted to this thing called internet chat.

One time, coming back from summer vacation, I visited their apartment and found she wasn't there anymore. I was told she won't be coming back as her father decided she will be continuing her studies in the province. That way they could watch over her. "Why?" I asked.

It appears that during the summer, her parents got the surprise of their lives when a Pakistani guy came knocking at their door looking for their daughter. Today, having a foreigner visiting would not be so uncommon in many of our sleepy towns. But during that time, it would give a poor old farmer a heart attack. Just imagine someone who has stayed in the same old town all his life suddenly having to contend with his just recently turned eighteen daughter socializing with someone from the other side of the planet. And through this new thing he doesn't understand called the internet! For him, its something that's not so easy to digest.

As it happened, there were no hotels in their town. As Filipinos with hospitality embedded in their genes, her parents can't stop themselves from inviting their visitor to stay. I could imagine the father trying to restrain himself while the mother plays the diplomat. And you could imagine what happened right after their visitor left.

I never heard about the girl again. But I do hear the same story more and more these days. I guess these stories are anecdotal but they do corroborate the finding that 70% of internet users in the rural areas are women and a majority of them go online for "social networking." Like Prof. Gigo Alampay, I make no value judgments. I hope the same is true with you.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Leadership from the Top

(uuhhhmmm... doughnuts... more doughnuts....)

A lot of things happen during the last ICT class for the semester: I got a free doughnut, career advice, and of course Prof. Alampay gave a lecture on a wide array of topics. What interested me the most was the Last Mile Initiative.

The thing that struck me about the Last Mile Initiative (which Prof. Alampay spearheaded) is the importance of having progressive leaders in the community. Even in a project such as the Last Mile Initiative, which utilized a community-driven model, one critical factor for its success was the involvement of the right local leaders. Leaders who not only see the role of technology in bridging the digital divide but whose leadership allows a condusive and empowering environment. One of the understated ways by which the government can increase the probability of success of a project is to restrain itself and allow the private sector (including the community stakeholders) to take the lead. It’s refreshing to hear that there are such leaders in the Philippines, may it be the barangay captain in Cebu or then Congressman Neric Acosta.

This is a generalization which might be unfair, but the Philippines appears to have too many leaders whose only ability is to provide PR for themselves. This is not even tackling the complex issues of corruption, dynasties, warlords, and patronage politics. I am just musing about the leadership style. I have long thought that given the culture in the Philippines, change must necessarily come from the top (the political and educational elites).

I was also surprised to hear that the telecom infrastructure in the country was generally satisfactory and that interest regarding the Internet was high even in rural communities. Another surprising fact that Prof. Alampay mentioned was that 70% of those who went to the Internet shops were female and that the number one activity was “online dating”.

14th Entry

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Immortality Meets Reality: Globe Discontinues Its Immortal Offers

I’ve been using Globe’s immortal text offer since last November 2009 and it was really a very good promotion. 10 pesos will give you 50 texts globe to globe, 10 texts to other networks AND these texts are not subject to a time period (hence the immortal name). A text message normally costs 1 piso but under the immortal text promo 10 pesos is roughly equivalent to 60 texts (with no expiry period).

Unfortunately, despite the “immortality” of the texts, the promo period does expire. So I was surprised when I could no longer register under the promo last February. Fortunately, I still had a balance of more than 1000 accumulated globe to globe immortal texts and which Globe will continue to honor.

Globe and the other telecoms are now more aggressive with their unlimited text offering within their individual networks. I personally never avail of this offers given their limited time period and the fact that I am not a heavy text user. What’s funny is that a large chunk of the billions that the telecoms earn is from the internetwork traffic between them. It would seem that Globe, Smart, and Sun need each other.

I also happen to notice that I am starting to rely more on Facebook and other online communication tools. It would be interesting to see what effect Facebook has had on the telecom business. Are people texting less? Or are telecoms actually earning from the use of wireless internet?

13th Entry

Friday, March 12, 2010

Daily Yahoo News

For students like me, one mode of acquiring news is through Yahoo. My daily routine includes opening may email so I can check on updates from school, from cases, and also from other extra-curricular activities. Upon opening my yahoo homepage, I immediately get a glimpse of what Yahoo considers as the most relevant news of the day/situation. In fact, I only learned about the death of Michael Jackson through such Yahoo news. But the funny thing is that I learned about it two days after his death.

Today's news in Yahoo really bothered me though:

Digital Letdown.

I got home from a nerve-racking afternoon of thoughts revolving around fair use and first sale doctrines, technical/technological protection/prevention measures (with an environmental road trip to the North-Side Divide) to an evening with my mom greeting me with a "the internet's dead" line. (Hey, what happened to "how was your day?")

So yeah, it's down. Well, actually, not really. It's just slower than usual. So slow that the router can't pick up any signal to distribute around the network. And even with a direct connection to the modem, I was having a difficult time loading the images of Castle Age. (But I still attacked the monster as a valiant knight should! Yeah, I'm no damsel in distress.)

I would have probably checked on my Mafia Wars and Vampire Wars, but alas, the faulty connection and the time do not permit. But I just needed to mention Vampire Wars, because I remember having received an event invitation from a gaming acquaintance. He said that he was retiring from Vampire Wars and was scouting for a friend to donate his items to. Yes, even in the virtual world, people take these things seriously.

Which reminds me of the first sale doctrine incorporated in the US copyright law. (Kind of far from the topic of donation... Well, maybe it's not that off-tangent, in a way. Anyway...)This doctrine allows the purchaser to resell his copy of the copyrighted work without having to gain permission from the copyright owner. All right, that's so third person. Here's an example: Let's say I buy a Coldplay CD. For some insane reason I realized I don't like it, so I sell it to you. Coldplay or their recording studio can't restrict me from reselling it. But how about if I bought the album from iTunes? The digital first sale doctrine is problematic to claim as a limitation to the copyright granted to Coldplay. Digital tracks downloaded/bought from online stores are embedded with technical protection measures that are unlocked only for the purchaser of the particular copy. So how do you go about reselling a digital track? I think one would be hard-put to divulge his online music store credentials (possibly the username and API key) to the prospective buyer, right?

14th entry of Awi Mayuga

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Professor's Toughest Competitor

A Professor’s Toughest Competitor

More and more professors are banning laptops from the classroom in the United States. Aware of the various diversions it can bring, professors are compelling students to take notes the traditional way: through pen and paper.

The Washington Post, in their report on the matter, made the following observation:

“A generation ago, academia embraced the laptop as the most welcome classroom innovation since the ballpoint pen. But during the past decade, it has evolved into a powerful distraction. Wireless Internet connections tempt students away from note-typing to e-mail, blogs, YouTube videos, sports scores, even online gaming -- all the diversions of a home computer beamed into the classroom to compete with the professor for the student's attention.”

In the Philippines, technology has finally penetrated our corner of the world enough to drive down the market prices of laptops and notebook computers. However, taking notes using a laptop does not seem to be a common practice among students. At least not yet. What is easily observable, though, is the fact that those few who use their laptops during class are more often than not doing other non-academic things also (if not exclusively), especially if wireless internet is provided.

Nowadays, the pursuit of wide access to information has created the problem of diversion, pervasive enough that it already affects the independent thinking of the students. It is like giving the students an enormous amount of arsenal, without training them on how to use it. It seems that students, and most of the world population, are not disciplined enough to handle the amount of information they have access to. It always goes back to that problem: how to handle all the information available at your fingertips.

Read the Washington Post article here:


Firstclass Shopping


Luxury brands are now going online too. Gucci Group CEO Robert Polet said, "When you plan an advertising campaign, you buy a magazine page hoping that the one million people who will leaf through it, will focus on the image for five seconds, even though you know that probably many won't even see it." These intimidating names (it takes a fashion genius to know how to pronounce them) are now seeing how the internet allows them to expand their market in a big way. The online stores reach customers that would otherwise have no way of buying the luxury goods because of absence of or limited distribution in the area. People are now more comfortable and secure in making online purchases. Even if they do not purchase online, at least they see the brands’ products and they see them still in a glamorous way. And if they like what they see so much, they can always go to the stores and buy them there. These brands, however, are conscious of the luxurious experience that their names have to live up to (all that cash and no glamour?unacceptable!) They make sure that the richness of their products (and their customers) is embodied by their online stores.

But I think having an online store takes away the lushness of these brands. Yes, they are able to reach more customers, but they lose the exclusivity at the same time. The real stores are for the elite. The online stores are for the “masses”. The internet is, after all, open to anyone and everyone. Then again, maybe even luxury has evolved as a concept because of the internet. The gap in the fashion world is being bridged by the internet, and it is bringing luxury to more people who are longing for it. Not that I am affected (drool), just saying.

Images from

Overnight Twitter Sensation

Over the past decade, we have seen many people become overnight Internet celebrities. Most of them became famous through Youtube, such as the "Chocolate Rain" guy, the Star Wars Kid, the Tron guy and the "Leave Britney alone" girl to name a few.

But one thing we haven’t seen is someone becoming famous through Twitter. Most of the time, the case is that famous people would become even more famous through the clever use of their Twitter account (ex. Ashton Kutcher). We have not seen someone who was completely unknown (like the people who became famous via Youtube) become an instant celebrity. That is until the world met Sarah Killen.

Actually, the world did not meet, Sarah Killen. Rather, she was introduced to the world by former Tonight Show host Conan O'Brien. It all started with a simple tweet from Conan. Conan, who was not following anyone on Twitter, decided to follow a completely random person. Conan then made the following tweet: "I've decided to follow someone at random. She likes peanut butter and gummy dinosaurs. Sarah Killen, your life is about to change. "

And yes, as simple as that, Sarah Killen's life did change. Thousands of people started following her Twitter account. Websites and blogs started writing columns about her. She got interviews from the media which were at first conducted through chat and Skype. Tomorrow, she is going to be interviewed in Good Morning America. All this happened in less than week from Conan's tweet.

Her life also changed in another aspect. When people learned that she and her long-time boyfriend were planning to get married but just didn’t have the finances to do so, people offered to lend help. She now has a photographer, videographer, wedding bands and even a custom-made dress, all free of charge!

This goes to show how powerful and pervasive social media is nowadays. The fact that it can instantly turn a completely regular person into a celebrity in less than a week is simply mind-boggling. Or maybe this just shows how popular Conan is. If that's the case, then all I have to say is this social experiment (I'm assuming it is) is definitely one of Conan's best tricks ever. =)

Follow them!
Sarah Killen:
Conan O'Brien:


Monch Bacani
15th entry

Legal science fiction

Cisco System's telepresence technology and Musion Systems' 3D holographic display technology are both featured in this 2007 presentation dubbed "Cisco 'On-Stage' Telepresence Experience."

What you will see is a man in Bangalore, India talking to a life-sized hologram of a man in California in real time (face-to-face or face-to-virtual-face). The hologram would later speak to the audience and walk around the stage, or otherwise move freely as though he were actually up there on the stage in flesh and blood.

Imagine the benefits it could have for the legal profession!

Telepresence can aid greatly in trials of a sensitive nature - where the safety and security of witnesses are often put at risk when they testify. If telepresence becomes integrated in courtroom proceedings then witnesses can testify without fear or at least with some sense of safety. Another advantage is when witnesses live in far-flung areas in the country and overseas - minimizing the costs of travel and accommodations and more importantly, save time and facilitate the speedy disposition of cases. Of course, some safety nets should be put in - such as the identification and verification of the witnesses' true identity, but these are considerations that will likely be addressed when the state of technology improves overall. More importantly, the legal framework must be flexible yet comprehensive enough to accommodate these changes while safeguarding the integrity of legal procedures and processes.

14th Entry

Noy No AddDICT?

"A government agency focused on information and communication technology only plays a supportive role... a support mechanism, as opposed to agencies like DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways), and DepEd (Department of Education). Ang problema lang, ang paniwala namin napakarami na tayong mga offices and officers who are not actually doing something useful."

This is what 2010 Presidential candidate Senator Noynoy Aquino had answered in an interview when asked about his opinion regarding the proposal for the establishment of a Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT).

Considering the fact that globalization is here to stay, and that technology is rapidly evolving as well as the fact that more and more people go online and use anything from computers to cellphones to what-have-yous in their day to day activities, the need for a DICT becomes clearer and it cannot be overemphasized. ICT is very much an integral part of our lives today and it's going to get worse, meaning there will be greater degrees of involvement of ICT in our daily lives that we cannot even begin to imagine today. In other words, it's here to stay. Thus, having a governmental body which will regulate the use of ICT, sustain the gains we have made in that field and ensure its future growth is critical to our national development and global competitiveness. Even the head of the CICT or the Commission on Information and Communication Technology (which is currently the adminstrative body overseeing all things ICT) Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III himself is pushing for the creation of the DICT, presumably to have a more pronounced policy-making function. I agree with the good Senator in the sense that we do have a number of overlapping offices in the government which could very well be streamlined if not outright abolished but I disagree that an ICT department is one of those with useless functions.

13th Entry

Internet News Dissemination

“Breaking News - Magnitude 7.2 quake reported in Chile during President Pinera's inauguration ceremonies.” - Again? Another earthquake? Well, this is how fast the Internet disseminates news and information, sometimes even faster that broadcast TV, and obviously faster that the daily newspaper.

Since college, I have been reading news on the Internet more than watching them on TV or reading them on newspapers. The tabs on my laptop include, philstar, for local news and and for international news, of course, and for sports news. Sometimes even has videos of news clips uploaded everyday.

It seems to me that information dissemination has become broader and more powerful on the web than through radio or through TV or through newspapers. No wonder why recently there have been numerous number of newspaper publishers that closed down. Even New York Times has not been spared by this development. In fact, it has been trying its best to stay in the industry amidst all these developments in technology. Finally, a recent survey reported that more Americans get their news from the Internet than from newspapers or radio, and three-fourths say they hear of news via e-mail or updates on social media sites, according to a new report.

Going back to the breaking news, this series of earthquakes in many different parts of the globe recently should concern us. I think there have been more frequent earthquakes recently than in any period in human history. It is a part of a global phenomenon called global warming. As information is passed faster than we can imagine, we must utilize this technology to also disseminate information, not just about news on the latest earthquakes or disasters, but also to helpful tips to do to when faced with such, or tips to prepare such occurrence.

One interesting note though: The survey reported that only television news still outpaces the Internet, with 78% of respondents saying they watch local news and 73 % saying they view a national network or cable news channel like CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.

This may be the case now. But, with the growing expanse of the Internet, I won’t be surprised if TV will later on be outpaced. As in Oblicon, this event may not already be subject to a condition, but rather, subject to a period or term.

Reody Anthony M. Balisi
15th Entry

Identity Theft

A friend of mine recounted to me how horrified she was when she just recently discovered that she has another account on Facebook, also under her real name and with her photos uploaded from her inactive Friendster account, which is accessible to everyone. A case of identity theft? Identity theft refers to a kind of fraud that involves someone pretending to be someone else in order to obtain benefits.

According to Identity Theft Resource Center and other sources, identity theft can be sub-divided into five categories:

§ business/commercial identity theft (using another's business name to obtain credit)

§ criminal identity theft (posing as another when apprehended for a crime)

§ financial identity theft (using another's identity to obtain goods and services)

§ identity cloning (using another's information to assume his or her identity in daily life)

§ medical identity theft (using another's information to obtain medical care or drugs) (Source: Wikipedia)

Some individuals, however, choose to impersonate others for non-financial reasons. My friend’s case may actually fall under this category. Her impersonator could not benefit financially in impersonating her in this way. Identity theft is becoming a bigger and serious problem since the Internet now plays a major part in the lives of many people. She reported this account to the Facebook moderators, I’m just not sure of its status right now. I thought that she was more or less asking for it for not having taken enough precautions especially considering the risks involved in posting private photos of and information of herself in the Cyberspace. She could have at least made her account private, for friends viewing only or just simply deleted her Friendster account if she was not using it anymore. It is so easy for anyone to obtain any personal information about an individual through the internet-- my friend’s case in point.

This form of identity theft is just one of its many forms. Some examples which are more serious and bring about graver and costly consequences include situations when someone uses your credit card to order goods for themselves, in other cases they will apply for credit cards, set up bank accounts, and take advantage of your good credit rating.

Some tips to avoid identity theft: (as culled from the article written by Jim Faller of a website with information about viruses, spyware, adware, backups, data recovery and computer security.)

1. There are many online free accounts such as yahoo, hotmail or grail, and most of them can interface with popular email clients like outlook or outlook express. Use one of them for all of your shopping transactions. Disguise your online identity.

2. Rotate your passwords. You should change your passwords every 6 to 12 months. If you suspect your passwords have been compromised change them as a safety precaution. Use only one credit card for all of your online purchases.

3. When you make purchases online make sure your transactions are secure. In the address bar you should see “https” and not “http”. There should also be small lock icon in your browser.

4. When you make your first transaction make sure your check the privacy policy, look for logos from consumer groups like Trust-E and the better business bureau. Click the logos to make sure they are authentic. Never open or fill out email requests for you to update you account or credit card settings via email.

Source: Wikipedia and

photo from:

Is it worth it?

Is chasing cyber crooks worth it? This is the question raised by an article in CNN Tech.

It appears that there are those who say that trying to catch the cyber criminals is an exercise in futility. They claim that if and when authorities do catch the bad guys, those who are caught are mostly the middlemen. The head honcho, the mastermind remains scott-fee. Blame this on limitations on jurisdiction as a result of geography. According to Marty Lindner, “"The U.S. doesn't have jurisdiction on the [entire] planet Earth, so even if you can identify the author [of the malicious program], that doesn't give us the legal authority to get him, one, and two, it's not clear he's committing a crime," he said. "It's not illegal to write bad software. It's illegal to use it."

They propose instead to “develop new anti-virus technologies and to teach people how to protect themselves from Internet crime.”

The other camp, however, argues from the viewpoint of the traditional penal system—that is, the prosecution of these crooks (even if they are simply the middlemen) is a deterrent to future crimes.

My stand is rather diplomatic. Why not combine the two? Going after the cyber crooks and developing and strengthening new technologies are not, after all, mutually exclusive.
15th Entry
Ralph Vincent Catedral

17th Entry: ICT and the SC

In the process of researching for ICT related cases decided by the Supreme Court for our ICT video, I stumbled upon these interesting reads, reflecting the current state of the law and our legal/judicial maturity in terms of ICT.

a. Ople vs Torres, G.R. No. 127685, July 23, 1998

The RFID controversy involving the LTO is not new. As early as 1998, a national ID system using technology similar to the RFID was proposed by President Ramos thru AO 308. This system sought to create a facility to conveniently transact business with basic service and social security providers and other government instrumentalities.

The Supreme Court struck down the AO for being unconstitutional. In so doing, the Court delved into a long discussion on the right to privacy basically emphasizing on the fact that the people’s right to privacy might be placed in danger. First, the Court noted that there are no safeguards against leakage of information, given the fact that data can be accessed by different agencies. The Court is likewise afraid that authorities may, with ease, track down every movement of a person, access confidential information, circumvent the right of persons to self-incrimination and exploit the system for fishing expeditions by the government.

Lesson Learned: It is unfortunate that we cannot reap the benefits of technology because of mistrust. The problem is that we cannot identify whether the culture of mistrust is a function of technology or that of politics. Mistrust of technology can be cured by proper education, awareness and the continuous improvement of technology. As for the other kind of mistrust, now that is the real problem.

b. In re 2003 Bar Examinations, B.M. No. 1222. February 4, 2004

The 2003 bar exams scandal came as a shock. It appeared that an associate was able to download the exam questions from the computer of the bar examiner, who is a partner in the law firm where the associate works.

The result? The associate was disbarred after the investigating committee found him guilty of “theft of intellectual property” and violation of the Constitutional prohibition on unreasonable search and seizure.

Lesson Learned: We lack the laws specifically directed in addressing cybercrimes. The existing law on ICT at that time, RA 8792, proved inadequate in addressing the issue of electronic actuations of this nature.

c. Garcillano vs House, G.R. No. 170338, December 23, 2008

The Hello Garci scandal. Petitioners sought to restrain the Senate from conducting its legislative inquiry. The Court held that the conduct of legislative inquiry without duly published rules of procedure is in clear derogation of the constitutional requirement. Although the Senate argued that its rules are readily available at the Senate website, the Court categorically held that the internet is not a medium for publishing laws, rules and regulations.

Lesson Learned: Despite the increasing number of people who go online to seek relevant data as well as the ease in information dissemination thru the Internet, it is a wonder why we settle with the traditional modes of reaching the people. If, indeed, the purpose for publication is to satisfy basic due process by conveying the law to the most number of people, then what is stopping us from exploring the idea of utilizing the Internet for this purpose?


Triple X Marks the Spot

Thirteenth Entry:

In Kenya, ICANN (International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), “a global Internet oversight agency is reopening discussions about whether to create a ".xxx" domain…Parents would be able to use the system to help block access to porn sites, though because its use would be voluntary, the ".xxx" suffix wouldn't keep such content entirely away from minors.”

Since it was first proposed in 2000 by ICM Registry, a registry operator, the idea of a “virtual red-light district” has been rejected thrice. It has faced strong objections from the religious and anti-pornography groups. They think that creating such domain would encourage, promote, market, and ultimately, legitimize pornography. Another criticism of this idea is that it is not effective in achieving its objective of keeping children away from the adult sites. Using the domain is purely voluntary, so nothing is stopping the porn site creators to use a different one. “And because a domain name serves merely as an easy-to-remember moniker for a site's actual numeric Internet address, even if its use is required, a child could simply punch in the numeric address of any blocked ".xxx" name.” ICANN is concerned that it would end up being a regulatory body. Adult site creators/operators fear that using the domain would eventually become mandatory.

On the other hand, ICM Registry puts forward several advantages of allowing .xxx domain.

a. For willing adult consumers of adult entertainment, the Best Business Practices incorporated into the .xxx registration agreement will bring a greater degree of confidence and certainty to their online experience.

b. For adult entertainment providers, identifying themselves as compliant with a comprehensive set of Best Business Practices is expected to provide more predictable revenue streams, greater customer retention and fewer complaints as regulators and others will see adult entertainment providers take a proactive and responsible approach to their web presence.

c. For individuals or families wishing to avoid adult content, the machine- readable labels will allow easy and reliable filtering. (

I don’t believe that pornography has any value to the entire universe. But I know that it satisfies a “need” so it can’t be escaped. Regulating the industry may be a good move, assuming that the porn providers are “responsible” and that they care about what the .xxx scheme promises. I just have a problem trusting sex sellers that they would actually be willing to go through the trouble of self-regulating.

Other source: "Global Agency Reconsiders ".xxx" for Porn Sites"

Something, somewhere...

I honestly think that as time progresses and more high-tech stuff are being invented, we lose a little something that was originally part of our tradition and culture. Of course, that’s not to say progress is a bad thing – sometimes what we slowly banish into the annals of history can fall under the trite phrase “good riddance to bad rubbish.” We have to admit, though, that sometimes... well, it doesn’t. Of course, since progress is called just that – “progress” – invariably, there is always something we gain with each technological advancement.

Last year, I saw a guy wearing a shirt that made me laugh. I remembered it last week while watching Lawrence Lessing’s lecture, and tried searching for the design online. I found it, and thought it would be nice to share it with everyone. It's called "Evolution."

(And here's the colored version:)

[end blog no. 15]

Loose Change Leads to "Economic Sabotage"?

Back in 2008, customs officers here in the Philippines seized 18 tonnes of Filipino coins set to be illegally shipped to South Korea for scrap metal. According to officials, the container held one peso coins amounting to around 30 million pesos, and was going to be shipped to Pusan in order for the coins to be melted down for their nickel and copper content. Nickel and copper are metals used in the manufacture of computer chips. Apparently, this process was a more economical measure as compared to mining for those metals.

In 2008, National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director for Intelligence Services Ruel Lasala was quoted as saying, "Some unscrupulous groups apparently asked banks or other organizations to change their bills into coins. They later sold these to prospective buyers, who would then smuggle the coins out of the country. These shipments were often misdeclared as metal scraps."

It’s ironic how while most people try to get rid of the coins weighing down their wallets, others hoard them in order to smuggle them out of the country. Yet another crime brought on by technology.

[end blog no. 14; images by louweird and reyneil, respectively]

The Nobel Peace Prize goes to... all of us?

This is weird.

The Internet received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize. It was nominated by the Italian version of Wired magazine in recognition of its contributions to "helping advance dialogue, debate and consensus."

While it may seem a bit a silly, Internet for Peace, an organization backed by some famous and well-respected people (look at their website), have already supported this nomination. It claims that the Internet’s contribution towards dialogue helped contribute to democracy, since "democracy has always flourished where there is openness, acceptance, discussion and participation". It also argued that "contact with others has always been the most effective antidote against hatred and conflict ", and the Internet has just provided just that. Finally, they say that in case the Internet wins, it is a "Nobel for each and every one of us".

While I agree that the Internet have contributed just that, I don’t see the point of nominating the Internet for the Nobel Peace Prize. If they wanted to promote the Internet as a tool for peace, I don’t think that nominating or even awarding the Nobel would help. I don’t think it would have that much influence on how people will perceive or use the web.

On another note, who do you think should receive the award in case the Internet wins? My bet would be this guy: . Or this guy: . That would be epic.


Monch Bacani
14th entry

Mc vs Mak

Back in 1990, McDonald’s Corporation, through a local franchisee, filed an action for trademark infringement and unfair competition against Big Mak, a domestic corporation operating snack vans that sell, among others, hamburger sandwiches.

After 14 years, and a few reversals, McDonald’s was finally able to get a favorable judgment from the Supreme Court, finding Big Mak liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition. It reinstated the ruling of the RTC, which ordered Big Mak to pay a total of Php700,000 in damages and permanently enjoining Big Mak from using the trademark. That was back in 2004.

Now, Big Mak still has operations in the provinces near Metro Manila. It might have ceased operations in the Metro, but it is still operating and using under the disputed trademark. This is not to say that McDonald’s is not doing anything about it. It maintains one of the biggest law firms in the Philippines as counsel just to enforce the Supreme Court Decision obtained more than half a decade ago. Contempt charges have been filed in hopes of completely obliterating the chain Big Mak. But the fact remains that it still exists and operates.

Almost 20 years had passed since McDonald’s sought protection of its intellectual property. Although it had obtained a declaration of its rights, that is all the entire litigation had accomplished thus far: a mere recognition. McDonald’s has not been sleeping on its rights. In fact, it has been trying to enforce the judgment. But is this all that our laws can give as protection for holders of intellectual property rights? Is the protection the Philippines claims to provide intellectual property rights holders really just a toothless mechanism? In the Philippines, can there really be an effective protection of intellectual property rights?

Read the case: McDonald’s Corp. vs. L.C. Big Mak Burger, Inc. G.R. no. 143993 August 18, 2004


OPR 5355

"This is IP Relay Operator 5355 with a relay call, do you know how to use relay?"

This was my opening spiel in every call when I was working as an IP Relay operator almost six years ago now.

What is Relay Service? Telecommunications Relay Service, also known as TRS, Relay Service or IP-Relay is an operator service that allows people who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, speech-disabled, or deaf-blind to place calls to standard telephone users via a keyboard or assistive device. Originally, relay services were designed to be connected through a TDD (TTY) or other assistive telephone devices. Services have gradually expanded to include almost any generic connected device such as a personal computer, laptop, mobile phone, PDA, and many other devices. Now, anyone can make a relay call through the Internet free of charge.

The most common type of TRS call involves a call from a person who is deaf and utilizes a TTY to a person who can hear and speak. In this call type, typed messages of the TTY user are relayed as voice messages by a TRS operator or Relay operator, and the recipient's response is then typed out by the operator for the TTY user to read. The TTY user types "Go Ahead" or "GA to indicate the end of a statement and the person who is hearing says the same thing to the operator when he or she is ready for the TTY user's response. The TTY user or the hearing party then says "Stop Keying" or "SK" when they are ready to hang up.

Being a relay operator was rewarding - the job paid well and there is a public service aspect to the work. However, I also had to deal with scam calls (mostly from Nigeria and Ghana) and prank calls (ranging from irritating to offensive) which made the job very difficult. It was an experience that thought me a lot about myself and about other people, especially Americans. I knew I wasn't going to be a relay operator for long but I can say I had fun while I was at it.

"This is IP Relay Operator 5355, thank you for using relay. Good bye!"

Mona Barro (16th entry)

Super Fast Connection

The era of super fast internet has come and the players are stretching their legs. Last month, Google has declared its vision of providing the public with super fast internet connection. How fast? 1 Gigabyte per second! This will allow a full length movie a download time of only 1 second! Who wouldn’t want that? In an attempt to be the first recipients of this new technology, the residents of a city in Kansas have convinced the city government to rename itself “Google”.

Other US Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are also hinting of a similar service. Just two days ago, Cisco Systems, a partner of the telecom provider AT&T, announced in a press conference the availability of its new router, the CRS-3. The new device would allow ISPs to increase network efficiency up to three times its normal state. According to its president, internet traffic will grow fivefold by 2013 and 90% of the data transfer will be in digital video.

In the Philippines, Globe already provides for 100Mbps “fiber-to-home” connections for a mere P15,000/month. However, this is exclusively offered to residents of posh villages like Bel-Air, Urdaneta, Forbes, and Serendra. Other ISPs like PLDT and SkyBroadband are also planning to offer the same speeds in the near future.

The moves of these companies affirm the growing need for Internet speed. This wouldn’t be much apparent a decade ago when the Internet is largely used for documents and pictures which require less space. Now, with Youtube, Metacafe, and other similar sites, individuals discover that they can also express themselves through videos. This then causes a proportional effect on the demand for more speed which the market will eventually supply.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vicarious Liability of ISPs for Trademark Infringement

I am taking IPL and ICT this sem. One of the questions I encountered is: Is there really vicarious liability of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) for trademark infringement?

Sec. 30 par. (b.).iii of the E-Commerce Act is the relevant provision. This provision has 3 parts. The third part of which refers to vicarious liability arising from receiving financial benefit from the infringing activity or unlawful act of another person or party. Here, as long as there is some form of financial benefit, the ISP may already be liable.

As regards the vicarious liability of ISPs for trademark infringement, the decisions of the federal courts in the United States establish that 2 tests or standards have so far been developed. First, is the application of agency principles to parties involved in trademark infringement. Second, is the application of the joint tortfeasor liability doctrine. The most recent cases which illustrate these doctrines are the cases of Fare Deals v. World Choice, Inc and Perfect 10 v. Visa International Service Association. None of these cases use the test of receiving financial benefit from the infringing activity or unlawful act as legal basis to determine vicarious liability.

Sec. 30 of the E-Commerce Act, I think, was based on American jurisprudential rules. If my assumption is correct, it seems, therefore, that vicarious liability, which comes from direct financial benefit, pertains only to copyright infringement and not to trademark infringement. This does not require knowledge, as long as the defendant ISP benefits financially (RTC V Netcom). However, the law is expressly clear, providing a basis for vicarious liability for ISPs. Since law does not make any distinction – covering both trademark or copyright infringement – neither should we. This is consistent with our rules on statutory construction.

As it stands, it seems to imply that the third part of Sec. 30 par. (b.).iii may also be applicable to trademark infringement. But then again, if we look at the rationale in American jurisprudence from which the law has been lifted, it is prudent and more reasonable not to apply this part of the third paragraph to trademark infringement cases.

Well, a test case has yet to settle this issue.

Reody Anthony M. Balisi
14th Entry

“Translating” Privacy

One of the interesting issues pointed out in the video shown to us last week was how the right to against unreasonable searches have been “translated” as changes in technology occurred. We saw how the Olmstead v US decision failed to translate the right to unreasonable searches. The Court therein ruled that the Fourth Amendment, as intended by the framers, merely covered trespass. Later on, such ruling on wiretaps was overturned by Katz v US. The Court therein said that what the Fourth Amendment covered was”people, not places”. Thus, even though there was physically no trespass, as long there is “reasonable expectation of privacy” from an individual, such privacy will be covered by the Fourth Amendment.

Today, we again face the problem of translating this right because of the changes the computer and the Internet have introduced. U.S. v. Ahrndt, 2010 WL 373994 (U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon 2010) and U.S. v. Borowy, 2010 WL 537501 (U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit 2010), two recently decided cases by US courts, illustrate this.

In Ahrndht, a woman was using her computer at home and was connected thru the Internet via a wireless router. When her router malfunctioned, her computer picked up a signal from another wireless (unprotected) network nearby. The woman then started using her ITunes and later noticed that another user’s library from the same network was available for sharing (meaning she can see and access those files). When she opened the shared library, she saw therein files containing child porn. She immediately contacted the police. When the police came, she showed them the files by again accessing the shared library. From there, search warrants were obtained by the police to gather evidence.

In Borowy, on the other hand, involved a search conducted through Limewire. Special Agent Byron Mitchell conducted a search in LimeWire by keying in the search bar the term `Lolitaguy,’ a term known to be associated with child pornography. From results, he identified known images of child pornography by using a software program. One of these files identified was linked to Borowy’s IP address. Using the `browse host’ feature of LimeWire, Agent Mitchell was able to find other child porn being shared by Borowy’s IP address and downloaded them. A search warrant was then obtained to later seize Borowy’s laptop and other storage devices.

In both cases, the accused filed a motion to suppress evidence, claiming that the search was unconstitutional as their right to privacy was violated. In Ahrndt, the accused argued that there was an expectation of privacy in the ITunes shared folder. Also, he added “that a wireless network should be given no less protection than a hardwired network under the Fourth Amendment“ and that “if . . . [he] had possessed a hardwired home network, and officer McCullough had obtained access to defendant's computer via the hardwired network, there would no question that his access violated a reasonable expectation of privacy“. In Borowy, the accused argued that “he had purchased and installed a version of LimeWire that allows the user to prevent others from downloading or viewing the names of files on his computer and because he attempted to engage this feature, he had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the files“. He claims, that for whatever reason, the feature was not engaged when Mitchell downloaded the files from Borowy’s computer.

These arguments were rejected by both courts. In Ahrndt, the Court said there was a different expectation of privacy in wireless networks against their hard-wired counterparts. It also pointed out that the accused failed to protect the network with a password (thus making the network available for all nearby users), thus making his privacy argument weaker. In Borowy, the court argued that simply by the fact that those files were shared over the network, all expectation of privacy was lost.

I agree with the ruling in the Borowy case. Limewire is basically a program wherein users share files. Its purpose is to facilitate the transfer of files between many users. Thus, when a person uses this program, it can be inferred that there is an intention on his part not only to download files, but also to share his files with other users. There is clearly no expectation of privacy in this case.

The Ahrndt case is what I find a bit problematic. Wireless routers, when installed in homes, are intended to be used only by the people residing therein. It is not installed so that it can be used by other persons living nearby. There is thus a reasonable expectation of privacy within this “space“. The fact that there was a shared ITunes library within the network could only mean that it was intended to be shared within the computers inside the house. The argument that the network should have been password protected to be considered private should also not hold. It should be noted that the default setting of a wireless router (or most of them) is not to have password protection. Additional steps should be taken, which may seem complicated to most people. As evidence, most wireless networks we encounter are not password protected. To make things worse, “quick installation guides“ of wireless routers do not usually include instructions on how to set a password for your network. You have to browse through the online or main manual just to find such instructions, something we usually don’t bother with when the network is already up and running. Thus, to just conclude that there is no expectation of privacy because the network is unprotected seems to be a rash conclusion. To analogize the court’s view, what they are saying is that the police can enter and search your house if your front door is open. There is only an expectation of privacy if the door is closed and locked. This conclusion is simply absurd.

The rulings in these cases have shown so far that there is an increasing burden on our part to secure our privacy and to prove that such right to privacy exists. These cases also mandate that we should be responsible for the machines we use and thus, we should educate ourselves on how to use them properly. This all sounds right at first. But a closer scrutiny tells us that this should not always be the case, as the burden of showing that the non-existence of a fundamental right belongs to the government.


Monch Bacani
13th entry