• New laws needed to block child porn

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    Fr. Shay Cullen

    Fr. Shay Cullen

    When a German national child-abuse suspect was arrested and jailed in Butuan city, Mindanao earlier this year, police found incriminating evidence in his laptop computer, of horrific photos of small Filipino boys as young as eight years old being sexually abused by the suspect. Photos showed the children being made to abuse each other. These were made for possible sharing with other pedophiles over the Internet. He is at present on trial in that city. We wait for justice to be done.

    However, while only a few pedophiles are arrested, hundreds if not thousands more pedophiles of all nationalities roam free to abuse at will. More has to be done to catch them.

    Much child sexual abuse is driven by the easy and rampant sex tourism that is allowed by government. More damaging is the easy uncontrolled access to the child porn websites. These are accessed without controls or filters despite the Philippine law (RA9775) that orders Internet service corporations to block all access to such web sites. There are few such laws like it in the world. See www.preda.org. The Internet service provider corporations have allegedly not installed filters to block child porn under section 9 of Republic Act 9775 and allegedly would rather pay a fine than respect the law. In past research, I asked some to comment but got no reply.

    The National Telecommunications Commission is mandated under RA 9775 (section 9) to enforce the law but seems to be looking the other away. The Anti-child Porn Alliance (ACPC-Pilipinas) is struggling against public and government apathy, inaction and indifference. Meanwhile, thousands of children are horribly abused and the images of the abuse are being posted on the Internet. Child rapists and those arrested for child sexual abuse have been found to have frequently searched, accessed and downloaded child pornography which can drive them to acts of sexual assault against children. Child pornography can lead to child rape and murder.

    The case of Tia Sharp, a twelve year old living with her grandmother in South London, was sexually assaulted and murdered by Stuart Hazell, a live-in sex partner of the child’s grandmother in 2012. Hazell was considered a heterosexual yet he secretly had pedophile tendencies. He took special sexual interest in Tia and repeatedly photographed her. On the Internet, he was searching and viewing images of incest and pedophile images. Left alone with Tina by the over trusting grandmother, he raped and murdered her. Evidence shows she fought back. There is little doubt that the Internet searches contributed to his perverted crimes of child rape and murder.

    Hazell is an Internet enabled pedophile. Law enforcers and some of the public tend to trivialize this terrible abuse of children. Some think it is a victimless crime yet every image is a terrible crime against the child victim.

    The last photo made by Tia’s killer Stuart Hazell was her dead, naked body placed in a sexual position. What’s important to note is that Hazell and many other men become child abusers by viewing the images on the Internet sites. What more evidence do we need to have stronger blocking and filtering laws to regulate Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and all Internet search companies and server corporations that enable Internet access? They are an open door to child abuse and the corporate managers and stockholders are holding it open. Google’s motto is “Don’t be evil,” but they are not living up to that it seems. They should change it to “Always do good.” That door to child pornography must be closed and locked and Goggle and the other Internet corporations have the keys.

    Those who oppose any blocking and filtering of child pornography wrongly claim the practice will spread to blocking other access to the Internet. In Britain alone, according to projections by credit card companies, there are 250,000 people accessing child porn sites regularly, male and female. The server providers have a voluntary selfregulation but it’s not being implemented. There are so many violators police cannot cope. Out of 250,000, they have charged 1,848 and won 1,451 convictions.

    For a nation to have good governance, it has to enforce the law to protect children. Parents must demand action and control their children’s access to computers and the Internet. There are practical ways to stop child pornography once and for all, and protect children through implementing the present laws and enacting amendments to strengthen legislation that will compel all search companies like Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask jeeves, etc. and server providers to:

    • Bloc access to child porn and violent rape web sites and mobile phones and through recording/viewing devices like DVDs MP3 players etc.

    • Outlaw and ban the sale or access to video games depicting child sex abuse and violent rape, real or simulated.

    • Have all homes with Internet connections to be asked if they want filters to impede access to child porn or violent rape sites. They can opt out on the record.

    • New subscribers to Internet connections will have to declare that they want or don’t want access to obscene material.

    • Pop up messages should appear on the computer screen giving a dire warning if the user tried to bypass filters and access banned sites.

    • Above all parents, teachers and adults must campaign for this to protect children and make the Internet a safe place to play and learn.

    shaycullen@preda.org

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