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Business

Bill seeks to define crime of economic espionage

- Paolo Romero -

MANILA, Philippines - Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo is calling for the enactment of a law defining the crime of economic espionage with corresponding penal provisions.

Arroyo, a son of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, said millions of pesos are lost and the competitiveness of the country’s firms and government are greatly weakened by economic espionage.

“Ordinary citizens may not be conscious of it, but there is the so-called proprietary economic information that are essential to the competitiveness of critical segments of Philippine business and industry which are targets of espionage by foreign governments and their agents or instrumentalities,” he said.

The lawmaker authored House Bill 1471 or the “Economic Espionage and Protection of Proprietary Information Act of 2010” that is undergoing deliberations in the House Committee on justice.

“At present, our laws do not give adequate protection to proprietary economic information. HB 1471 seeks to prevent economic espionage by advancing the development and lawful use of Philippine proprietary economic information,” Arroyo said.

Under the bill, proprietary economic information shall cover all forms and types of financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information including, but not limited to data, plans, tools, mechanisms, compounds, formulas, designs, prototype, processes, procedures, programs, codes or commercial strategies, whether tangible or intangible and whether stored, compiled, or memorialized physically, electronically, graphically, photographically, or in writing .

Relative to such information, the lawmaker said “the owner has taken reasonable measure to keep such information confidential; the information is not available generally to, or accessible by the public; and that the information is not a matter of public concern.”

HB 1471, among others, provides that any natural or juridical person who commits economic espionage as defined under the bill, whether or not in the aid of foreign nations, governments, corporations, institutions, or instrumentalities, shall be fined an amount equivalent to the economic value of such proprietary information.

“Penalties also include forfeiture of property or proceeds derived from or related to the commission of economic espionage,” Arroyo said.

The bill states that economic espionage is committed by any person who, (among the acts enumerated in the proposed measure), steals, wrongfully appropriates, takes, carries away, or conceals, or by fraud, artifice, or deception obtains proprietary economic information.

There is also economic espionage if a person wrongfully copies, duplicates, sketches, draws, photographs, downloads, alters, destroys, photocopies, replicates, transmits, delivers, sends, mails, communicates, or conveys proprietary economic information.

Likewise, if a person receives, buys, or possesses proprietary economic information, knowing the same that said information to have been stolen or wrongfully appropriated, obtained, or converted, can be held liable under the proposed measure.

The measure also provides that “notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, this Act applies to conduct occurring outside the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines if: (a) the offender is a Filipino citizen or permanent resident of the Philippines; (b) the victim of the offense is an owner, as defined in this Act, and the offense was intended to have, or had, an effect in the Philippines; or (c) the offender foreign corporation is conducting business in the Philippines through agents or subsidiaries and has caused damage to the owner in the conduct of its business.

CAMARINES SUR REP

ECONOMIC

ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE AND PROTECTION OF PROPRIETARY INFORMATION ACT

ESPIONAGE

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO

HOUSE BILL

HOUSE COMMITTEE

INFORMATION

PAMPANGA REP

PROPRIETARY

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