Olongapo Telecom & Information Technology

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New recruitment scam in the Net exposed

By JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, The Manila Times Reporter

Syndicates are using the cyberspace for illegal recruitment allowing them to victimize more jobseekers without being caught by the law.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the National Bureau of Investigation have received reports about the new mode of recruiting workers for ghost jobs by illegal recruiters.

"We have reports about such activity [Internet recruitment] and we are waiting for complainants to come to us so that we can take the appropriate action against these recruiters," said the NBI’s special action chief, Director Vicente de Guzman III, at a recent roundtable at The Manila Times.

Syndicates conduct their recruitment online, through advertisements or messages posted in various websites, online forums and chat rooms.

Payments are also coursed through the Internet or the wires, eliminating the face-to-face meeting between the victim and the syndicate.

"As we see it, the operators in this kind of transaction are more difficult to arrest because the billing is made though wires. But of course there would come a time when the applicant and the operator will meet in person and that is where the NBI and the POEA will come into the picture," de Guzman said.

He said that the NBI does not have the names of individuals or groups involved in the Internet business because no complainants have appeared so far.

De Guzman said the NBI is looking for ways to track the website of the syndicates.

The NBI special action force is also going after illegal recruiters who victimize Filipinos with the promise of nonexistent jobs and recruitment agencies who charge exorbitant fees.

According to POEA Administrator Rosalinda Baldoz, victims of illegal recruitment from January to May this year have increased by 242.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

She said from January to May 2005 the POEA received only 172 complaints compared to 593 complaints they received for the same period this year.

IT industry looks forward to automated elections


The local IT industry, represented by the Philippine Computer Society (PCS), will be conducting intense lobbying and negotiations with the government and private sectors in the next six months to finally get the modernization of elections going.

The efforts would include lobbying both chambers of Congress to pass amendments to RA 8436 or the election modernization law to make it more technology neutral, according to PCS director Edmundo Casino.

"The law is so flawed that the provisions contained too much specific requirements of a certain technology that it looked a purchase order," said Casino, referring to OMR (optical mark recognition) technology.

This requirement virtually shut the doors to other systems such as Botong Pinoy, a homegrown automated voting system developed by local technology firm Mega Data Corp.

The company, perhaps exasperated by political foot-dragging, made a major move by donating the voting system to the Philippine government in an IT conference held last June 7.

The company, represented by its chairman and CEO Rafael Garcia III, led the symbolic turnover of the system’s software to PCS president Bing Van Tooren during the 11th PCS Information Technology Congress at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Mega Data Corp. said it made the decision to turnover the voting system for free and without strings attached after years of unsuccessfully convincing the government of the wisdom of adopting it for the elections.

"Now, I can say we have made our contribution for our country," said Garcia. "The ball is now in the hands of the Philippine community to pursue the implementation of computerized elections in 2007 and 2010."

Not to be confused with Mega Pacific Corp., the company whose election modernization contract was voided by the Supreme Court, Mega Data is the company behind the modernization projects at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Jose Avedillo, vice president of Mega Data Corp., said the company’s profitable business collaboration with the NBI and LTO afforded it to donate the voting software.

Botong Pinoy, the company said, addresses all problems peculiar to Philippine elections, particularly dagdag-bawas. The system can talk in ten major local languages and allows voters to vote by pointing at the picture of their chosen candidates.

Botong Pinoy uses regular PCs instead of proprietary counting machines, the company said. This setup, it added, will allow schools to use the PCs and borrowed only by the Comelec during election time.

To avoid fraud, the system is booted up from the CD and is not stored in the PC’s memory. A CD will be distributed to each election precinct across the country.

For all its strengths, the software donation made by Mega Data will mean nothing unless amendments to the law are made, said National Computer Center director general Tim Diaz de Rivera.

"So we’re hoping that the changes in the law will be made soon," Diaz de Rivera said, adding that the NCC will be part of the advisory council that will assist the Comelec in implementing the system in case the amendments are approved by Congress.

But just in case the legislative department fails to amend the law, PCS’s Casino said they still have a second option: To convince Comelec to conduct the elections via text messaging.

What could possibly be the first of its kind and worthy of the reputation of the Philippines as the text messaging capital of the world, the system would call for voters to register their name to the local election officer via SMS in order for them to vote.

Any message emanating from unregistered number will be rejected by the system, Casino said.

The system is far from finished though as the PCS is still discussing the project with the mobile operators, he added.

"But this is much better than for us counting sticks in the blackboard. Another elections of this kind will pave the way for another ‘Hello Garci’ controversy."

NTC, operators agree to temporarily stop SMS ads

By Erwin Lemuel Oliva - INQ7.net

FILIPINO mobile phone subscribers can now breathe a sigh of relief after local mobile phone operators and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) agreed to temporarily bar the sending of text advertisements to millions of mobile phone subscribers.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Jorge Sarmiento told INQ7.net that the local operators and the NTC on Tuesday agreed to suspend the service for the next 30 days or until the agency comes up with stricter guidelines on mobile text promotions.

This came amid mounting complaints from mobile phone subscribers, including an objection from Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. Some complaints alleged that unsolicited text messages of special promotions charged subscribers, a claim mobile service operators denied.

In a public hearing last month, local operators argued that their content providers were responsible for sending broadcast text messages to subscribers, not them. The NTC rejected this reason, and asked them to quickly address the issue.

"It is a lame excuse that they would blame content providers," Sarmiento had said.

The NTC said last month it would revise an earlier set of rules on broadcast messaging following complaints of mobile spams and unwanted text messages.

NTC Chairman Ronald Solis said some content providers of local mobile phone operators were not complying with the agency's policy on broadcast text messaging.

Possible revisions would include requiring content providers to use a common access number when sending broadcast text messages, the NTC chairman said.

Under existing NTC rules, mobile phone operators and content service providers are prohibited from sending commercial text messages unless the subscribers opted to receive them.

The new regulation on text spam adopts an "opt-in" policy when dealing with unsolicited commercial text messages or text spam.

Under the NTC policy on broadcast messaging services, a subscriber who has not opted-in into commercial messaging services will not be charged for such messages they receive.

Subscribers who do not reply to these broadcast messages will be automatically opted-out, or subscribers may opt-out without being charged, the NTC rules said.

The new rules also state that broadcast messages will not be sent between 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., except for paid subscriptions.

The NTC will also require broadcast messages to display the names of senders and valid addresses or numbers where subscribers can send service discontinuation request.

The new rule on broadcast text messaging will apply to both short messaging service (SMS) and multimedia messaging service (MMS)-type of broadcast messages.

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Stop unwanted text messages, NTC orders

The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered telecom operators to temporarily stop transmitting unwanted text messages in the wake of complaints from mobile phone subscribers.

NTC commissioner Ronald Solis said in a statement that the regulator and telecom service providers like Smart Communications, Globe Telecom and Digital Telecommunications Inc. (Digitel) agreed to stop the transmission of the unwanted messages for 30 days starting April 10.

NTC will hold public hearings and consultation with consumers, telecom providers and content providers to address the complaint within the 30-day period.

The suspension order will remain in effect until after the NTC revises the rules on broadcast messaging.

Commercial and promotional advertisements, surveys and other broadcast/push messages are prohibited under NTC rules unless the subscriber gives their consent.

The rules also ban the broadcast of such messages between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., except for paid subscription services.

Solis said the temporary suspension of transmission of text broadcast messages cover commercial and promotional advertisement, surveys and even text-based games sent via broadcast/push messaging service.

“However, existing subscribed services, or those text broadcast messages actually subscribed as of today by cellphone subscribers are allowed to continue in order not to deprive subscribers of these services that they themselves have sought for,” Solis said.

He added the emergency, distress and public information messages are also not covered by the suspension.

Solis said the NTC might adopt an access number to allow easy monitoring of unwanted text messages that promote third-party commercial interests.

Last year, NTC recorded 823 complaints on billing discrepancies and unsolicited text messages from cellular and fixed line subscribers. Of the total number of complaints, 607 complaints were personally filed by subscribers. The remaining 216 are phone-in complaints.
By Alena Mae S. Flores - Manila Standard Today

5 taong kulong sa magkakabit ng ilegal na cable TV, Internet

GAGAWIN nang kasong kriminal ang ilegal na pagkakabit ng internet at cable television.

Inaprubahan na ng House committee on information communications technology ang House Bill (HB) No. 4665 na iniakda ni Cebu Rep. Simeon Kintanar upang papanagutin ang mga magnanakaw ng serbisyo ng internet at cable television.

Inirekomenda na ng komite na talakayin sa plenaryo ng Kamara de Representantes ang panukala.

Sa ilalim ng panukala, papatawan ng hindi bababa sa dalawang taong pagkakabilanggo at hindi lalampas sa limang taong pagkakakulong o multang P50,000 hanggang P100,000 ang sinumang lalabag.

Naniniwala si Kintanar, chairman rin ng komite, na malaki ang maitutulong ng panukala upang lalong mapahusay ang serbisyo at maiwasan ang pagkalugi ng mga kompanya na nagbibigay ng trabaho.

Tinukoy ni Kintanar ang kadalasang pagkasira sa reception ng serbisyo sa Internet at television cable dahil sa ilegal na koneksiyon.

Sinuportahan ang panukala ng Federation of International Cable Television Association of the Philippines (FICAP), Philippine Electronics and Telecommunications Federation, Inc. (PETEF), Philippine Cable Television Association (PCTA) at SkyCable.

Ryan Ponce Pacpaco