Registering Laptops To Fight Cybercrimes

Do you remember the plan of the Optical Media Board (OMB) to have the i-cafés register their hard disks with the agency to prevent the violation the the intellectual property rights of copyright owners? Now, it’s the turn of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to propose a legislation that would regulate laptops, SIM cards, and other devices used in connecting to the Internet. According to Palmer Mallari, chief of the NBI Anti-Fraud and Computer Crimes Division, regulating the use of laptops “would help law enforcement agencies in the fight against cybercrimes.”

Mallari said during the hearing that law enforcers often have a difficult time tracing specific users who connect to the Internet through laptops and wireless connectivity. He said if the government requires users to register their devices used in connecting to the Internet, law enforcers will have an easier time tracing those who may be involved in certain cybercrimes. NBI Computer Crimes Unit chief Migdonio Congzon said that 50 percent of Internet connections in the country is wireless.

The proposal was made during a hearing on cybercrime bill conducted by Senate Science and Technology committee, but this early, at least two senators expressed opposition to it. “I can foresee tremendous opposition to this,” said Sen. Edgardo Angara, chairman of the committee. Sen. Francis Escudero, who was also present during the Senate hearing, said the regulation of laptops is an “overreaction.” “Individual laptop owners will find the registration of their devices too much of a task”, he said.

I personally wonder what our law enforcers would propose to regulate next. Would they go on proposing measures that would really intrude into our rights to privacy like looking into the contents of our USB drives and SMS inboxes without securing search warrants? I am sure there would be more crazy proposals coming from them and all will be in the name of preventing crimes.

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