Press freedom under siege: Alternative media sites sue IP Converge, Suniway over cyberattacks

Four alternative media outfits focusing on marginalized sectors and underreported issues have sued IP Converge Data Services, Inc., and Suniway Group of Companies, Inc., accused of being behind the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks meant to cripple their websites.

The 29-page complaint for damages was filed before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) by Alipato Media Center, Inc. (publisher of Bulatlat), Altermidya-People’s Alternative Media Network, Inc., Kodao Productions, Inc., and Pinot Media Center, Inc. (publisher of Pinoy Weekly).

These outfits sought actual damages of P52,356, P60,460, P119,855, and P60,371, respectively.

According to the complaint, two of the attackers made the mistake of visiting the Bulatlat website without hiding their internet protocol (IP) addresses, which ended up being traced to IP Converge and Suniway.

The digital footprints of the attackers were further traced to “the same server, which is operated by Defendant Suniway.”

“It is impossible for the said Defendants not to have known or detected the DDoS attacks that were being conducted right under their noses,” read the complaint.

The complaint noted that the companies’ information technology officers were put on notice for the DDoS attacks, but they did nothing to address the issues.

“It is indubitable that Defendants wittingly acted as an instrument not only to the unlawful deprivation of Plaintiffs’ property but also a denial of their freedoms as media institutions and members of the press,” the complaint stated.

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