Sat. Sep 18th, 2021

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday said persons behind the so-called “ghost accounts” of many Facebook users may be prosecuted for identity theft.

Justice Undersecretary Markk Perete, in a briefing with newsmen via Whatsapp, said criminal liability for computer-related identity theft defined and punished under Sec. 4 (b)(3) of RA No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 “is among the possible violations being looked into” by investigators.

Perete said as of Sunday night, the DOJ Office of Cybercrime (DOJ-OOC) has received 112 reports from users with duplicate/dummy accounts.

“The preservation of these data, as well as the determination of the subscriber information of those responsible, is essential for us to determine why these so-called ghost accounts exist in the first place. Suffice it to state that at this point, all possible angles and leads will be pursued,” Perete said when asked following public speculation on the matter.

He added that an initial batch of accounts has been brought to the attention of Facebook to be taken down, with a concomitant request for their preservation.

“Our law enforcement agencies are doing the probe. We are coordinating with them to the extent that their participation is necessary,” Perete said, adding that the social media company’s representatives are assisting in the preservation of data an obtaining a deeper understanding of Facebook’s processes and protocols.

He also assured that those who report violations have ample protection from the law since the Data Privacy Act “prohibits disclosure of information without consent or beyond the purpose for which data was obtained/provided”.

“Liability, including criminal penalties, is imposed upon those who violate this prohibition. The DOJ Office of Cybercrime is not only aware of this prohibition, it will assiduously uphold the law that protects the privacy of citizens,” Perete added. (PNA)

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