Sunday, July 31, 2011

in pursuit of virtual gratification

In a world of increasing commercialism, aggressive pursuit of one's desires is the norm.
Sacrificing attainment of needs for gratifying wants has become acceptable. Trading up to reach a greater satisfaction is nothing new.

But trading your own babies to fund virtual gratification is insanely novel and is insane in itself.
$500 for a baby girl. $4600 each for two baby boys. All in the name of online gaming addiction. As a Chinese couple take their gaming obsession to a whole new level, they exchange not just needs for wants but legal duties for virtual lust. A disgusting lust to say the least.

Webster defines 'sacrifice' as the act of offering something precious to a deity.
The insane couple defines 'sacrifice' as the act of surrendering their kids to their gaming demons.
The phrase 'sacrifices made by parents' has always brought to mind endearing thoughts of acts of selfless parents and has sometimes even moved me to tears. The couple's sacrifice, however,
can only bring tears of hate.

The society has been used to scolding the youths for their unhealthy gaming habit. This time, the babies take a turn at upbraiding. $500 for a baby girl. $4600 each for two baby boys. A grand total of $9700 for online gaming addiction. Ahhh, "parents' sacrifices" at its finest.
In 2007, the world has witnessed how a man gave up his own life, albeit unwittingly, in pursuit of virtual gratification. But giving up your own child, er, THREE children? Oh c'mon. Please tell me the world is unprepared for this. Ancient evil in a new form. Talk about bad news.

Cris Bernardino {entry # 7}

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wala nito sa bundok ko!

Two weeks ago, a friend bought his very first iTouch and now he has all these cool apps which he bought from the App Store. I've had mine for almost four years and still have not a single paid app! Well it's no big deal if you think about it. Heck, a lot of people buy apps! Thing is, this friend of mine is as wary as me when it comes to buying stuff online because of the risk of giving away confidential financial information. When I asked him how he bought the apps, he said he used a prepaid credit card. Wow, never knew there was such a thing. Wala nun sa bundok ko haha!

So here's how a prepaid credit card works. You buy one at a supermarket or convenience store, load on it the amount you like and you're good to go! Once you've depleted your balance, just deposit more cash. Think of prepaid cell phone loads. It's that easy!

Since the internet has opened great new opportunities for retailers resulting in more and more shops going online, many consumers now prefer making online purchases. However, the convenience of online shopping is sometimes traded off against the risk of credit card fraud. Prepaid credit cards get the job done without compromising one's security. Since only the cash loaded onto the card is made available, there's no risk of losing thousands worth of credit available on regular credit cards.

Now I really want to get my hands on one those uber cool cards. Thing is, we don't have them here in the Philippines. Sucks...

Amazing, kahit talo ang azkals,

Okay, this has been crazy. no classes but it seemed like there were a ton of things to do. you study for your classes and after braving 2 hrs of traffic to go to qc, you find out that class has been cancelled.

Btw, the azkals lost. 2-1. it was expected. ainevitable actually, their teamwork was crap and the only good man was schrock. he managed to make a spectacular goal.

enougfh of that. the whole point of this blogpost is the fact that i am amazed. i am amazed by the fact that i'm posting this entry.why?

because i've had 6 shots of badtrip and i'm here in central typing this post on a cellphone(quite a challenge,yes)

no. i'm not yet drunk. yes, it's the truth. isn't it great that even in the remotest of places, one can still connect to the world? even in the most 'alanganin' situations, one can still do what one has to. totally mindblowing. 10 yrs ago, this would have been impossible, now, you just have to be crazy enough to imagine and with the help of technology, you might just achieve the impossible.

Get green certified.

I was looking through some website when I found a badge at the bottom of its home page that read: "Green Certified Site."

Wait, what?

I suppose the meaning and the value of "going green" are pretty much common knowledge at this point, but I'd never really heard of green-certified websites. I've heard of green marketing for companies before, mostly from the news and through surveys I've participated in, and I feel that it's an advocacy that's still waiting to break free from the reins of the many challenges it continues to face, largely because I think it hasn't been fully embraced by consumers in a top-of-mind-awaraness kind of way.

So I did a bit of loose research on getting a blog or website green-certified, and I found that the idea had some basic and some rather technical points:

There's probably a lot more to it than what I've listed down, but it's kinda easy to figure out. It's certainly become one of the factors I'll look at if I decide to get my own domain.


#6 - Somayyah Abdullah
[Previous posts: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5]

Baby's Laptop

toys now are so techy!
Whenever I'm using my laptop, my son, Matthew wants to go at it too. It makes me think of buying him a baby laptop, however those available at stores are for ages 3 and up, and he's just 11 months old.

To think I had my first laptop in my twenties, it seems my son will get his before his 1st year birthday... I wonder if a laptop meant for 3-year old babies would last in his hands though. Even in the 3rd movie of Toy Story, the toys don't last with infants/ toddlers who throw them about. Toys should be age appropriate.

bottom hits the floor, more stable, right?
At our family's office, a space is cleared and set out for his crib, however when all of us are engrossed in tasks he cries out for attention. I've just replaced his crib with a play-yard which doesn't have a stand, i.e. the bottom hits the floor because his earlier crib with a stand seems like it will tip over with his naughtiness.

I haven't really looked much into the capabilities of the baby laptop though, are they interactive? will he learn anything out of it? will it survive if Matthew throws it outside his crib as he usually does almost everything?

Matthew means "blessing from God"
I don't really think i'd like it to be full of video games. I'd prefer if it can play Barney or Sesame Street (so should i just get him his own portable dvd player haha). I've read one model (fisher - price fun to learn laughtop) will even give my baby his own email!

One of the staff then mentioned i should get Matthew his own little desk and chair so he can pretend he's working too. It made me remember again that I really want to get him a baby laptop so he doesn't pull on the cords of our computers, if he's busy tinkering with his own.

Well, since I can't walk very well yet again since my degenerative disc disease made itself felt last Friday and my spine surgeon ordered me one to two weeks bed rest, shopping will have to wait.

Entry # 6

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Google, Google +, And Why It Bugs The Heck Out Of Me

There is no company in the world I simultaneously love and fear more than Google. I love it because, as the adage goes, “it only does everything.” What started out as a search engine now has its own OS, email service, map service, social networking site, and also provides its user the means to view satellite images of practically any place in the world.

Yet this is also precisely what makes it so scary. The sheer amount of information controlled by Google is astounding, in light of the same ironic fact that they “only do everything.” Quite frankly, it tends to make one paranoid. Google’s foray into social networking with Google + is particularly worrisome. Google in effect knows where one lives, can pinpoint the exact location with satellite imagery, and not only that—it also knows all of one’s friends and where they consequently live with pinpoint accuracy. With other social networking sites, at least one crazy enough to reveal his real address can take solace in the fact that the site’s servers doesn’t contain detailed map and location info. Google doesn’t quite feel as secure.

So for now, this blogger will stay off Google +. I can live with the fact that they know info about me from my email and Youtube accounts, but aren’t willing to put my friends at risk. Some may call it paranoia, but I’d rather be safe.

May Pasok Ba?

It was so difficult to track the suspension of classes a few years ago when we were younger. We had to call the school or some government offices to check, which was difficult to do because of the busy lines. As a result, we were compelled to go to school anyway just to be sure. Then, when the classes become in fact suspended we get annoyed with all the efforts to be in school and the doubly difficult effort of going back home. Sometimes, we know for sure not to go to school when the roofs of neighbors go flying.

This is not the case nowadays. Even when there is no storm signal yet but there is a continuous rainfall, everyone will start sending questions anticipating a suspension. Juaning’s first day in the Philippines put CHED in trending topics world wide because of inquiries regarding the suspension. The moment the suspension is given it spreads so quickly as if it is in a contest for the record of fastest spreading information.

Another cause of annoyance in our history of suspending classes is accuracy. We go to school when we are not supposed to. We don’t go to school when there is very little wind or rainfall. But now, we can track the storm at home sipping our favorite coffee and looking at websites like Even UP Diliman Chancellor Saloma wanted to be accurate when he said that he would look at satellite images at 4am before declaring anything.

James Anthony MIna #6


Hacking + activism= hacktivism. Also known as electronic civil disobedience, this term is used to describe the practice of using cyberspace as an alternative place for protest. The primary goal of hacktivists is to express political opinions and ideologies through the internet. Issues range from corruption, human rights, freedom of information, free speech, privacy and security. Hacktivism may be conducted through legal or illegal means, but it is always disruptive. Some common hacktivist methods include website defacement, denial-of-service (making the website unavailable to users), information leakage, virtual sit-ins, etc. In the Philippines, recent hacktivist attacks are on government websites. The most common are by hacker group Philker, stating that their attacks are not intended to harm but are aimed at exposing vulnerabilities of government websites.

With the prevalent use of the internet, there is no doubt that hacktivists reach and affect a far wider audience. They also directly attack their targets where they hurt, in a faster and broader manner. With mass media reporting cases of major hacks, the point gets across no matter what.

If hacktivism is protest, should it be considered as a legitimate form of political expression? Should it be afforded protection because it is free speech? If we go into the root of it, hacktivism would still necessarily involve illegal access to the computer or the system. And while others claim no harm is actually meant, there is still an amount of damage wrought, no matter how minimal. As one writer put it, hacktivism will always go back to the question of the ends justifying the means.


wikipedia, the hacktivist

Krystel Jehan M. Bautista, entry no. 6

When the State Tweets, Everyone Follows

The recent (belated) suspension of classes due to stormy weather led to a rather interesting phenomenon in twitterverse. Fake accounts of CHED and other authorities (i.e. Chancellor Saloma of UP) responsible for a more prompt announcement of class disruptions came cropping up. And the twittizens who started following are not few. It is only understandable that when the State tweets, in the desire to be apprised of state announcements (read: particularly that very elusive class suspension), everyone starts clicking the follow button.

More than the creation of a law penalizing such misdemeanors, I think a more appropriate approach should come from the Executive. Government agencies should set up their own facebook or twitter accounts in order to (1) give timely and much-needed information to the citizens and (2) ward off posers. Twitter’s timeline and facebook’s news feed are, after all, faster than the usual text brigades.

DepEd did advise the school heads to maintain their own websites or social networking portals in order to create direct links to their students and personnel. We can only hope that it extends the same advice to its sister/brother agency, the CHED, so that frustrated, suspension-hungry and internet-savvy tertiary students won’t resort to creating poser accounts.

Of course one can argue that the creation of government websites and social portals do not necessarily equate to timely delivery of information. Take for example the case of the earthquake which rocked Luzon just a couple of nights before. Earthquake related tweets came flooding the timeline as soon as the earthquake itself started. But the government’s official reports came only a full hour later… when no netizen cared about it anymore. This is in stark contrast to Inquirer who came in with collated ‘tweet reports’ just five minutes after the quake. It was even able pinpoint specific affected points in Luzon from the tweets of the shocked citizens.

Another consideration for a state-run website and social portal is the security issue. Hacked government websites and portals are not uncommon. We have seen the MWSS, Bureau of Customs, LGUs, and even the Congress websites hacked. Instead of being helpful, these portals provided false information which made their constituents dubious of their government’s capacity to be accurate and… well… helpful at all.

But these considerations are not impossible to overcome. Like in the performance of any other governmental function in this country, nothing is fool proof. Even if it’s just about as simple as tweeting a class suspension. This does not mean however that the government should just give up all together. All the government needs is a computer technician who can be there at the most crucial moments, a trained ‘media team’ (a.k.a. twitter team), and accurate information which they should deliver before anyone else does. The formula is really simple. @MMDA does it. It’s high time the rest of the bureaucracy follow.

Because in this stormy day and quake-filled age, though the civil servants trained in the ‘primitive ways’ may deny it, promptness and accuracy are standards which every netizen use to determine whether they have a working government or not.

Entry # 6

Keep Trollin'

“Classes suspended.”

Such sweet words. Words that practically every student dream of. Yes, the past two days have been nothing but bliss, bed weather and all. Just perfect. Well, it’s not that students don’t want to go to school. It is just that there is a certain, indescribable satisfaction that classes being suspended bring. And us law students are not exempt from craving for that satisfaction. Honestly, we too are elated whenever we get this good news. It’s a welcome break from all the stress that law school brings. However, it is not easy for law school classes to be suspended.

According to the Department of Education’s (DepEd) “Automatic Suspension Guideline,” areas with Signal No. 1, classes are called off for kindergarten students and for Signal No. 2, classes are immediately called off for kindergarten, elementary and secondary levels. In the case of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), to which law schools belong, CHEd Memorandum Order No. 34 series of 2010, issued last October 22, 2010, clarified the guidelines for suspension of classes in due to weather disturbances Based on the memorandum, classes at the collegiate level, including graduate school, are automatically suspended in HEIs once public storm warning signal number 3 is raised. However, heads of HEIs have the discretion to cancel classes even if signal number 3 is not yet declared, especially if there are other factors, such as flooding and road damage.

Based on current Student Regent’s Krissy Conti’s Twitter account, the following are the people who have the power to suspend classes in the University of the Philippines: 1) U.P. President; 2) U.P. Chancellor; 3) City Mayor; 4) DND chief via A.O. 196; and the 5) Philippine President. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to follow Chancellor Cesar Saloma’s new Twitter account (@CesarSalomaUPD) for updates regarding the suspension of classes. Everyone in Facebook was saying that the Chancellor will decide by 4am yesterday whether or not to suspend classes. I thought it was pretty cool and convenient that the Chancellor is within reach for the benefit of the students. Or so I thought.

“Oh pano ba yan. Wala na daw classes bukas,” the Chancellor tweeted. I thought it was rather informal of him to comment like that. But I thought that maybe the Chancellor didn’t really bothered with formalities like that, which makes him more relatable to the students. After that tweet, the Chancellor messaged Finally, naubos load ko sa kakatext eh. Kaya nga gumawa ako twitter.This made me think, is he really this casual? Maybe he just wants to add a personal touch in his twitter account. Finally, he ended his tweets that night by saying I had fun UP Students! Until next time! Keep Trollin.” Keep Trollin’? Really?

Later I learned that it was a fake account. Well I should have known better. There is no way that our Chancellor will tweet “Keep Trollin” knowing that U.P. students are following his account. This instance made me realize that while the advancements in Information and Communication Technology makes our lives easier and more convenient, such is not without disadvantages. One of which is identity theft. This incident is a prime example that our identities are not as secured as they are years before. Now, we must be extra cautious in dealing with people, especially online. If not, you might just end up getting “trolled.” Whatever that means.

Entry # 6

Mark Garrido

Online Professionals

The way Medical and Legal help is given has changed very much with the introduction of the internet and forum like sites. Now there are numerous websites offering legal or medical help online for free or for a fee. Clients need only put down a description of their legal problems or medical condition and the professionals on the other end give their advice on what the client should do. Due to this new method of advice giving, it is much more accessible to all clients. Free advice sites won’t even charge, and clients may obtain advice from several sources. It is sometimes also faster, since the client would no longer need to travel and line up at a doctor’s clinic, or wait for a day that the doctor is in before he or she may obtain advice. It also grants anonymity, as a client’s situation may be embarrassing or dangerous and online help seems the better option to preserve the same.

However, these websites have dangers as well. Sometimes the professional on the other end may not be very good, or not even a real doctor or lawyer at all. Wicked individuals may give wrong advice just out of malice. Also it may even be the client’s fault, being untrained, they may give the wrong description of their problem or symptoms and thus solicit wrong advice. Sometimes it takes a doctor or lawyer to see things a normal client does not. These dangers however, can be avoided. First a client should go to a trustworthy site with a decent populace and has already been established. A client should also go for sites or forums where there is some form of approval method of the posts to see what others have to say about the advice given. The client should also try to go for a site where the professionals are verified as true professionals.

All in all, the internet has provided a new way of obtaining advice that could most usually have been costly, embarrassing, or time consuming. Clients need to understand the risk of these however, and be wary of advice given if unapproved or verified by other sources. Still it is very much convenient, and as long as care is taken, should do more good than harm.

Newspapers’ Downfall Meant the Birth of News for Me

It’s been widely-recognized that, with the advent of the internet, newspapers are largely a thing of the past. I must confess, though, that I never enjoyed reading newspapers. And I never really understood why. I fairly enjoy reading so it can’t have been the reading involved. I don’t think my laziness has gone to such an extreme that the necessary effort of lifting the paper up has led me to give up on reading newspapers entirely (in fact, I enjoy reading actual books more than ebooks, even when the former entails the physical strain of lifting the book). I also don’t think it’s because I want to avoid the often tragic nature of news (trust me, I’m not that melodramatic when it comes to real life; I need a soundtrack and good editing or a really well-described scene to get me to really pour my eyes out; in short, I’m usually only human when it comes to fiction). So, after much thought, I blamed it on my political apathy (on a side note, some of my friends say it’s ironic that I’m politically apathetic when I’m studying to become a lawyer; but I don’t think it’s that weird, really, ‘cause they’re really two different things; politics is about what the law should be while being a lawyer is about what the law is; besides, I’m not politically apathetic for the sake of being politically apathetic; it’s just the way I am, although, I do enjoy the fact that I am politically apathetic). Anyway, so I blame my distaste for newspapers on the often political nature of news. Still, I tried to read newspapers as I grew older (most probably because it seemed like a grown-up thing to do; it seemed like a rite-of-passage into adulthood of sorts; and also because it seems like a really fun breakfast routine in movies). But I never really got hooked into the habit of reading newspapers.

Thank God for the internet. Now, I spend hours on the net (in addition to social networking) to catch up on news. And, the funny thing was, I enjoyed reading news on the net. So I’ve decided that my political apathy isn’t really the reason for my preference for ignorance. On hindsight, I think the reason I never enjoyed reading newspapers is that articles were not outlined and organized in such a way that you would easily be able to see what they are all about. Thus, you’d have to read through so much before you would get to read about something you were really interested about. This is in sharp contrast with sites which offer news, where the articles are outlined; from there, you can choose to read the articles which you’re apparently interested in by simply clicking on the hyperlink. So, I guess, the real reason has more to do with the “laziness” reason rather than the “politically apathetic” reason. It’s sad but, at least, it’s not as shallow as the actual “laziness” reason specified above (although it is quite far from the pretentious profoundness of the “politically apathetic” reason). Shallowness of my reason aside, again, I’d like to thank God for the internet: it has kept lazy people like me from complete ignorance. And I think that those who remain ignorant in this internet age are unfathomably lazy or choose to be so (which is also profound in its own way, I guess). Either way, they only have themselves to blame or thank.

Aldous Benjamin Camiso, Blog Entry #6.

Image Source:

Overly Airbrushed L'oreal Ads Banned in the UK

L'oreal ads featuring Julia Roberts (for LancĂ´me Teint Miracle Foundation) and Christy Turlington (for Maybelline's The Eraser) were banned by the ASA after assessing that both ads violated clauses 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration) of "UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing" aka CAP Code. (Read full story here.)

Image Source:

The ASA or Advertising Standard's Authority is an independent organization, applying the mandatory Advertising Codes to ensure that advertisements remain legal, decent, honest and truthful. The ASA’s authority is recognized by the Government, the courts, and other regulatory offices.

At present, RA 7394 or The Consumer Act of the Philippines is the main law used to safeguard the interests of the consumers and to establish standards of conduct for business and industry. However, it does not address the unethical practices of advertisers regarding fallacious and misleading claims. On the other hand, the Advertising Board of the Philippines (AdBoard) is a mere self-regulatory board composed of various organizations within the industry itself, without any adjudicatory powers like the ASA. While they do have their own Advertising Code of Ethics, there are no consequences for violations. At best, it only serves as a general model for the industry to follow.

Technology has made it possible for airbrushing and digital manipulation (Photoshop) to be the norm by which the world of advertising revolves. In fact L'oreal admitted that the image had been digitally retouched but still "accurately illustrated" the achievable results. In a world where paradigms do not equate to reality, consumers have the right to be informed of the products they are buying as well as be protected against abuses against misleading advertisements. After all, who wouldn't want to look 20 or even 30 years younger?
Advertising is an excellent tool in the field of marketing. However, maintaining good standards to keep good taste, as well as ethical parameters in the business world, is a must. --- From a 39 yr. old Dad

Entry No. 6
Soleil Flores

The Death of A Newspaper

Rupert Murdoch is a name that might not be so familiar in the legal world but it is the most important name that you will hear right now in the media. He is the owner of News Corp. which is the grand master of a multitude of media outlets such as Fox Broadcasting and Wall Street Journal. He is also the owner of the now defunct News of the World which closed shop just recently due to the phone hacking scandals in the UK. The whole situation on the news could play out like they do in the movies. The basic premise would be: What if we could get the dirt on everybody using any way we know how and publish it under the banner of free press? They did basically just that and they are now paying for it.

The head honchos allegedly got into cahoots with PIs who allegedly hacked phones of their persons if interest. The NoTW employees also allegedly were in contact with officers in Scotland Yard to stave off any inquiry into their activities. The people who were hacked are not just politicians or celebrities but also the families of soldiers returning from war or even a murder victim and her family. These activities produced the juiciest stories that were brandished on the covers of the famed Sunday tabloid. The result: Insatiable appetite for more of the same gossip and a bump in the profits of the media conglomerate. Underneath it all, however, was the dark secret that nobody was safe from their prying eyes and ears and that the readers themselves could already be victims and not even know it.

The press is now in the middle of a maelstrom in good ole England but it was not something that they didn't bring upon themselves. The government is also under attack for their failure to address the issue head on. The personal relationships of the politicians with the bigwigs are also under fire and have increased the British people's distrust on the system. They are struggling with the thought on whether they can still trust what the news says or not.

The use of information and technology are the enabling forces for the press to get their news and share it to the rest of the world. This is such a blessing to the whole world to know what is going on but sometimes, it can be a curse. Any way you look at it, the use of covert and illegal means is not sanctioned by the public. There is always going to be somebody out there who take things too far just to get a good news story. This reminds me of what Uncle Ben in Spider-Man said that "With great power comes great responsibilities." We can get all of the information we want out there and we can do it either legally or illegally. It just depends on how we decide to use it.

Entry #6

Race Reporting

Another week... another topic.

One would think that ICT being so pervasive in our daily lives, it would be so easy to write something meaningful about it. Yet, I am faced yet again with the problem of coming up with a blog. This week, instead of writing about ICT, I've chosen to use ICT to write about a subject that is meaningful to me... triathlon. (Reminds me of McLuhan's now very cliche "the medium is the message").

I started a blog to memorialize my experience in multi-sports, i.e. swimming, biking, running, both in training and racing. Here is my first entry, it is a race report of a 5km run this past Sunday:

Ferdinand Manebo Entry #6

The Sick Things People Do

The internet is a world cloaked beneath the shadows of anonymity. Hidden underneath the HTMLs and IP addresses, one can easily unleash one’s perversity without fear of revealing one’s true identity. Rapists, perverts and psychos abound exponentially ... lurking in the forums … silently preying on innocent netizens .. waiting for the perfect moment to strike. No one is safe once you are embroiled in the warped world wide web.

The latest victims to fall prey to the evil clutches of these anonymous criminals are small animals. Puppies, rabbits, rats … no animal no matter how small or defenseless was left unscathed by the perverse desire of these internet-savvy sexual deviants. “Crush videos” found themselves uploaded in websites, catering to the prurient fetishes of psychopaths who seem to derive pleasure in hearing the screams of young animals being crushed beneath the weight of a pointed red stiletto of a scantily-clad adolescent girl.

How these sick minds could find pleasure in brutally crushing the life out of these animals is beyond me. The United States has taken action by signing into law House Bill 5566, outlawing animal crush videos. In the Philippines, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is on a manhunt, offering a reward of P100,000 for information that would lead to the arrest of Victor and Dorma Ridon.

According to a Russian tipster, Filipinos Victor and Dorma Ridon are behind the production and sale of a series of “crush videos” depicting various animals being abused. Under the Philippine Animal Welfare Act, perpetrators of animal torture are subjected to a maximum of two years imprisonment, and/or a measly fine of P5,000.00. But because of the proliferation of “crush videos” in the Philippines, 2 bills were filed in Congress seeking to explicitly ban the production and sale of “crush videos.”

Indeed, the internet has opened many doors and broken global barriers. Anything the world has to offer is literally at your fingertips. Shoes made in France, electronics developed in Japan --- heck, even live videos of kittens being skinned alive! Take your pick. Anything you want ... anything your heart desires ... yours to sample in the convenience of your own home. Thanks to the internet and “crush videos”, the idiomatic expression “a thousand ways to skin a cat” has taken on an entirely different literal meaning.

Click video to see the full story.

Entry #6

Diane Cecilia Yu

Where’s ICT in the President’s agenda?

There were a lot of things missed in the President’s second state of the nation address. Many were expecting for more substance, for a more concrete narrative of where this administration’s “straight road” will lead the country.

While the issues confronting the Philippines cannot all be included in a thirty, forty minute speech, it’s unfortunate that the ICT sector wasn’t mentioned.

ICT is one the key drivers of our economy. Our local telecom industry contributes four to five percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while the IT-BPO sector contributes another five percent. The latter created 100,000 jobs in 2010, and currently employs 525,000 Filipinos.

Also, the IT-BPO sector is one of our “sunshine industries.” Industry estimates reveal that revenue from BPOs could reach USD$50 billion by 2020. That’s a whopping 11% of our GDP. Already, our country has been dubbed the BPO capital of the world, after overtaking India as the leading provider of IT-BPO services last year.

But much more needs to be done. In terms of competitiveness, our ICT infrastructure ranked only 98th out of 139 countries surveyed in the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Competitiveness Report. We performed even worse in indices that measure the ease of doing business in a country. If we are to maintain our status as a leader in BPO services, and if we are to move forward towards providing higher-value services, then we should definitely have a clear strategy for ICT.

That being said, where’s ICT in the President’s agenda?

-- Ixara Maroto, sixth post

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

E-Legal Counsel and E-Trial

What if the next time we need to consult something with our attorney, we read something like this in our e-mail account? “Hi! This is your attorney. May I help you?” Then he proceeds to give a litany of steps and afterwards, he submits all the documents by email to the judge. Even arguments will be done by chat with webcam. Such a scenario wouldn’t be farfetched considering the relaxing of attitudes toward using technology. There’s so much that we do in real life which we couldn’t imagine being done in any other way before which is now being done online. For example, before it was highly unthinkable to give your password or credit card number to a total stranger online, trusting merely on the “positive feedback” he has but now it is perfectly normal.

Anyway, if other non-legal stuff can be done online, why should the legal be left on its own on a pedestal so high? If the reasons behind pushing things to be done online also holds true for doing legal actions in the virtual world, then we might as well do it to reap the benefits we see. Added to that, we also help save the environment by saving trees (paper).

There is the danger of course that the person who might be giving legal advice or presiding as an online judge might be a fake or might just be a call center agent. Therefore, it would seem practical to require that there would be some form of security such as requiring a digital signature, or some equivalent.

Another barrier is that only young lawyers might benefit since it is only them who really know how to operate a computer properly. Of course there are other old lawyers who do but still they are very rare. Most old lawyers that I know still do it the old-fashioned way. Anyway, should E-lawyers and trials be approved then maybe the Supreme Court may adopt something like allowing for the real way and the electronic way, at least for a certain period of time.

Entry #6

John Joseph S. Parco

Fake Names--- A Failsafe to Protect Ones’ Privacy

Google+, is HOT right now but not due to its prediction that it will soon rival Facebook as the next rave in social networking. Several complaints have swamped Google due to the account deletions being made in Google+, apparently for those who are not using their real names (

Google should reassess their move with regard to the account deletion having use of fake name as a criterion for deletion. They should probably take a second look as to why people/social network users use false names in their accounts. Hey! I could think of one, it provides me with a failsafe to protect my privacy. Assuring that only people I know can find me. Given the accessibility of the information found in the web that these users will be providing, I understand the hesitation of some to provide their real names. I do agree to some extent with Google that my providing real names we would be allowing people---family and friends to connect with us, those we have lost touch with due to distance and time. In the opinion of Google:

“spokeswoman said via e-mail that Google Profiles are designed to be public Web pages whose purpose is to "help connect and find real people in the real world."

"By providing your common name, you will be assisting all people you know -- friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, and other acquaintances -- in finding and creating a connection with the right person online," she wrote.” (


Monday, July 25, 2011

Intellectual Property

Other countries have long enacted measures to better safeguard intellectual property rights in this day and age of digitalization of intellectual creations and in the advent of technological innovations (ie., P2P file sharing, torrent, etc) that provide access and means for users to easily infringe the IP rights of creators.

The Philippines has, with much dismay, lagged behind its counterparts.

It is only recently that the House of Representatives approved on third reading House Bill No. 3841, which amends the IP Code. On the other hand, the Senate has yet to tackle Senate Bill No. 2842, its HB No. 3841 counterpart.

While the said bills are still lacking, in light of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, intellectual property laws enforced in other countries, jurisprudential application of the said laws, and current and fast-evolving trends in technology, it is a welcome and a much needed development in Intellectual Property and Information Communications Technology.

This author, however, hopes that further amendments be made and that stronger protection be afforded the creators, subject of course to certain limitations such as constitutional right of free speech, etc.


The dragon of delay our Courts have yet to slay*

200 years.2

That is possibly how long a case such as the Ampatuan case might take in the natural scheme of things—

in our scheme plagued with delays, that is.

Judicial delays are due to all sorts of evils, including those besetting our case adminstration system. One, the system of filing, calendaring and recalling of cases is manual hence, inefficient (duh.). Two, records and exhibits on file and transcriptions of stenographic notes physically deteriorate in storage or get misplaced or lost as the period of delay lengthens into years. Three, lower courts are notorious for late and incomplete transmittal of records of appealed cases to appellate courts.3 And the laundry list goes longer and dirtier. The court dockets are in bad shape. Backlogged. Congested. Delayed (hm, isn’t this always a sign that something’s wrong? a sufficient cause of alarm?).

The overarching theme is the failure of the courts to utilize technological advancement to the fullest, from the use of modern electronic means of communication (filing of pleadings thru fax/e-mail, perhaps) the simple utilization of off-the-shelf software (such as the ‘CaseMap’ being used in the International Criminal Tribunal of Rwanda), to the development of unique applications tailored to the court’s particular needs (e.g., database for electronic case files). Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. himself admits that the Philippine legal system “has much catching up to do with the rapid advances in technology.”

Still, the courts look at technology with a suspicious eye, as can be gleaned from the Supreme Court’s recent pronouncement: Indeed, members of this Court cannot strip their judicial robe and don the experts’ gown, so to speak, in a pretense to foresee and fathom all serious prejudices or risks from the use of technology inside the courtroom.4 But the courts are supposed to be servants of the society. If the old judicial robe is weighing them down, dragging the entire judicial system with them, maybe it’s time to try on the experts’ gown...

-Crisela Bernardino [entry #6]


1 Bautista, Juan Andres. Clogged dockets and judicial delay. 2 Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban (ret.). Speeding up quality justice. 3 Caparasu, Emmanuel L. and Feliciano, Florentino P. The Problem of Delay in the Philippine Court System.Vol.62, pp. 201-225. (1987). 4 Re: Petition For Radio And Television Coverage Of The Multiple Murder Cases Against Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, Et Al. A.M. No. 10-11-5-Sc. June 14, 2011.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harmless hyperlinking?

It's one of the more basic features of using the Internet, and I've always thought of it as the most convenient way to cite sources or make references because (a) it isn't too much of a visual interruption, unlike a footnote number or parentheses, and (b) it's pretty easy to do.

The HTML code for a link to this blog, for example, would be:

<a href=">Law and ICT</a>

which will be read by a web browser as:

Nowadays, with WYSWIG editors, it's as simple as clicking a button. In the case of Blogger, it's this button:

Despite its convenience and apparent simplicity, hyperlinking has actually been the subject of various controversies relating to copyright laws in the US and in some countries in Europe. Of course, the act of referencing or linking to illegal material or content is an obvious hot button, and that deserves a whole other entry altogether. But I only recently found out that some types of linking that may seem innocent, and perhaps even show diligence, can be linked to copyright infringement. Deep linking and inline linking are some of the more contentious types of hyperlinking, particularly when the links are set up in a manner that would make the reader or site visitor think that the linked web page or the image is part of the original web page or is located on the same server.

Deep linking involves directing the visitor to the page of the website where a particular piece of information is actually published, for example, as opposed to leading the visitor to the website's home page. Inline linking, on the other hand, creates a link for an image by linking to its URL source instead of linking to the web page where the image was published - like doing this:

instead of this:

Until I found out about this, I never used to mind where my links went exactly or how they could appear to readers, as long as I made those links where I thought proper, in terms of citing sources or references. I don't think I ever made anything that's not mine appear as mine, but with all the years I've spent online, I might have made a few "faulty" inline links here and there. I guess it won't hurt to mind them now.


#5 - Somayyah Abdullah
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