‘Threat of cyber attack real’

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    FORMER party-list representative Neri Colmenares has joined the growing chorus against the idea of allowing a third party, like China, to gain access to the country’s telecommunications sector because it will make the Philippines vulnerable to cyber attack.

    “China has been known to use hacking and so on… They said they will not use our telecommunications technology for intelligence purposes. The fact China said ‘we will not use’ means that they can, except that they are promising that they will not use it. For me that’s dangerous already because it depends on them. Our national security should not depend on a third party,” Colmenares said in a recent interview.

    Under China’s law, the National Intelligence Act and the National Security Act, a provision requires all Chinese corporations to cooperate with their intelligence department. China may use this as an excuse to hack into the country’s system and the easier way to do this is by having access to the telecommunications sector.

    Senators Panfilo Lacson and Francis Pangilinan have aired the same fears in the past, especially after Dito Telecommunity was granted a license to operate last year.

    Colmenares said the “worst thing you could offer to China is the technical knowledge of the inside information” as it only makes the Philippines “vulnerable to Chinese attacks.”

    “Do not allow, at least the very least, if you are going to sell the third telco to somebody, at the very least, not to China, not to Dito,” Colmenares said.

    “There are certain industries that you do not sell to ‘private corporations,’ much more foreign private corporations and in this case, China is not just a foreign country, but it is a country that has an antagonistic position for us because we defeated them in the tribunal case. And if there is any sharpest attack on China, it has been the tribunal case,” Colmenares said.