The ISPs must obey the anti-child porn law

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Child pornography and cyber-sex involving minors is a serious crime against the person and dignity of the child. The Philippines is becoming a leading source of these illegal  images and children are being abused in the making and distribution of them. The child porn images are spread around the world through the Internet and the Internet service providers (ISPs) in every country that do not have filters and blocking technology are aiding and abetting these crimes against children.

The telephone companies are violating the law by not having these filters in place as demanded by the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 otherwise known as RA 9775.

They have seemingly placed themselves above it and seem to have some government officials in their pockets. In addition to the anti-child pornography law they are also allegedly violating with impunity the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995 or RA 7925 and Executive Order No. 546 issued in 1979.

This strongest law RA 9775 was passed in 2009 explicitly ordering the ISP’s to install software to block the transmission of child porn images and cyber-sex where children are forced to do sexual acts live on camera sent through the Internet to paying customers in other cities or countries. But they have allegedly ignored it or persuaded law enforcers to look the other way and allow them to pay a “fine.”


It is alleged too that some officials of government telecommunication agencies and law enforcement agencies have been allegedly captured or bought off so they will not enforce the law. The critics of these big telephone and Internet companies accuse them of making money out of the dirty business of child abuse. They have not been charged or found guilty of any crime. This is amazing since the law was passed in 2009.

Last August 2013 I wrote in this column on this very subject the following: “Agencies in the Philippines such as the National Telecommunications Commission are mandated under RA 9775 (section 9) to enforce the law but seems to be looking the other away. The Anti-Child Porn Alliance (ACPA) is struggling against public and government apathy, inaction and indifference.”

But last January 30, 2014 the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a memorandum circular ordering the ISPs to comply with the law.  But the memorandum does not come into effect until it is published and it is now April and they have failed to publish it. The memorandum or order tells all ISPs to “install available technology, program or software that will block access or filter all web sites carrying child pornography materials.”  The telephone companies such as PLDT, Globe, Smart, Suncellular and BayanTel have until June 2014 to actually install the software or hire companies like NetClean or any of the many others to do it for them.

But they should have done this in 2009.

If they want to get expert help to start blocking right away they only have to contact Internet Watch Foundation of the UK (https://www.iwf.org.uk/about-iwf). The foundation works with ISPs, the public, law enforcement and can identify and remove child pornography websites and help bring the perpetrators to justice.

The Internet is a service but it is not a child-safe product because it can so easily harm children and it is used for crime.

In an on-going court case, a German national is accused in Butuan City, Northern Mindanao of sexually abusing and performing acts of sodomy on small Filipino boys.

There is strong evidence against him. If he is allowed to go free it will be a travesty of justice and a cause for non-stop outrage and protest. But thousands of child defenders believe that the judge will rule on the evidence and the law and not on the defense’s claims that such acts do no harm to the children who they claim consent to it. This is a useless defense because no child under 18 can legally consent to illegal acts of abuse against him or herself. Besides the victims were 12 years and younger.

The evidence is not only the testimony of the child victims but also photographs found on the German national’s laptop of the shocking and depraved acts of sexual abuse of the children. It’s a case of trafficking also because the man allegedly brought the children from Gingoog City to Butuan.

In general the practice of pedophiles of all nationalities are sexually abusing children and making digital pictures and videos of their evil acts to view them, share and trade them with other pedophiles. They are also uploading them to websites on the Internet where others can see them and the child is continually being virtually abused. Every image is evidence of the abuse and to have and hold them in one’s possession is to be an accessory or is consenting to the crime. One possesses child porn images is highly likely to abuse children. That’s why possession is illegal. The authorities must not wait until he has raped a child and then arrest him. The deadline of June 2014 to install the filters should not be necessary since the ISP’s should have done it in 2009. We must challenge government of all countries to protect children  from the abusers.

shaycullen@preda.org; www.preda.org

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