Presidential son wants to criminalize economic espionage

September 1, 2009 10:29 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Sept. 1 — A neophyte lawmaker is pushing for the enactment of a measure that will uphold the confidentiality of economic information in the country, including commercial, business and trade secrets, and to penalize as an act of economic espionage their theft, misappropriation and wrongful use.

Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado "Dato" Arroyo, son of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, filed House Bill No. 6485 to be known as the "Economic Espionage and Protection of Proprietary Information Act of 2009."

In filing the bill, he said the country's existing laws do not give enough protection to proprietary economic information.

Arroyo said his proposal intends to prevent economic espionage by advancing the development and lawful use of the country's proprietary economic information by protecting it from theft, wrongful destruction and conversion by foreign governments.

"It is important to safeguard proprietary economic information from theft, misappropriation and wrongful use, especially from foreign governments, their agents or corporate entities since it can cost our economy millions of pesos each year," he said.

Arroyo, a member of the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology, said the development of proprietary economic information is vital and integral in a country's conduct of business and commerce.

He stressed that confidentiality of information should be maintained in highly classified information such as in trade and business.

The proposed law defines proprietary economic information as all forms of economic, financial, business, scientific, technical, designs, processes, procedures, codes or commercial strategies among other types of information.

It also defines the crime of economic espionage as an act committed by any person who steals, misappropriates, takes, carries away, or conceals, or by fraud or deception obtains proprietary economic information, among others, and provides it for the benefit of a foreign government, corporation or other entities.

Penalty for the commission economic espionage, as defined under the bill by any natural or juridical person, whether or not in the aid of foreign nations, governments or corporations and institutions, shall be a fine equivalent to the economic value of such proprietary information.

HB 6485 is co-authored by Reps. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte), Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr. (Pampanga), Wilfredo Mark Enverga (Quezon), Yevgeny Vicente Emano (Misamis Oriental), Candido Pancrudo Jr. (Bukidnon), Arnulfo Go (Sultan Kudarat), Mark Llandro Mendoza (Batangas), and Roberto Puno (Antipolo City). (PNA)



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