Updates On Internet Censorship Issue

internet_censorI have already made three (3) posts entitled Censoring The Internet, Filtering The World Wide Web and The Proposed Anti-Child Pornography Act that contain my opposition to a provision mandating the Internet service providers (ISPs) to do the filtering of objectionable child pornography content in the proposed anti-child pornography law. In all of those blogs, I explicitly said that I am not against the passage of a law that will protect the children against the evils of pornography. My only objection in the proposed law is the provision I mentioned because it will not only encroach on one’s freedom of choice but would also open the floodgate on real Internet censorship.

In this blog post, I will not discuss again what I have already said. I just wish to give you a feedback on the status of the legislation of The Anti-Child Pornography Act as I gathered them from reliable sources. In an email message circulated by the Executive Director of ECPAT Philippines (main lobbyist for the passage of the law) to various sectors concerned, updates on the subject are as follows:

  • House Bill No. 6440 or the Anti-Child Pornography Bill passed 2nd Reading in the House of Representatives on the evening of August 11, 2009
  • Third and final reading of the House bill is scheduled in the afternoon of  Tuesday, August 25, 2009.
  • Bicameral sessions may be held by October to consolidate the Senate and the House versions of the Anti-Child Pornography Act.
  • The Anti-Child Pornography Act may be passed before the end of 2009.

There you have it, we will have the law on Anti-Child Pornography that will mandate the ISPs to do web filtering which is tantamount to censoring the Internet by early next year. While China has postponed the implementation of its Green Dam Youth Escort project that provides filtering only on end-user’s side and Malaysia’s move to adopt similar scheme has faced serious opposition from various sectors, here we are in the Philippines legalizing Internet censorship in the guise of protecting the children online.

Is censoring the Internet really the solution to child pornography? Will educating the child and the parent on the correct use of the Internet technology not help in curbing the evils of pornography? Is it correct that we will all be told what is right for us to see online? What will prevent the authorities from doing things beyond filtering Internet for its content? These are the questions and we will know the answers soon if the “righteous” people in our midst would have their way and we continue to keep quiet on the issue.

UPDATE Again: “The House of Representatives delivered what could be the strongest warning yet to child pornographers, pedophiles, cyber-sex den and unscrupulous Internet café operators by unanimously approving on third reading on Monday the Anti-Child Pornography Bill.” – An excerpt of the news item at the Philippine Daily Inquirer (First Posted 08:44:00 08/26/2009) entitled “House OKs bill against child pornography“.

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