What’s Next On Web Filtering By ISPs?
I have already reported here that web filtering by an ISP is now a law so what’s next? Legally speaking, what is now needed for this provision of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 to get implemented is the enactment of its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) that will officially mandate our Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to install the infrastructure, both hardware and software, needed to prevent the web users from accessing child pornography sites. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is the agency tasked to prepare the IRR and I have the information from a reliable source that its preparation is now in-process. We can only hope that the IRR will stick to the spirit of the law and that is to filter only the unwanted child pornographic sites.
Under the guise of protecting child online, internet filtering at ISP level was inserted or made to be part of an otherwise well-intentioned anti-child pornography law. The provision was never discussed in our mainstream media and some agencies in our government which also have stakes in internet governance were not consulted. The law was passed or rather railroaded without any thorough study on how internet filtering at ISP level would affect the quality of service as well as the cost involved is implementing such activity. Why the rush? Is there an intended application of the provision that we do not know? I can only guess like many of those who know what can be done by unscrupulous persons with access to the filters to be installed.
Let me repeat that service degradation is just one of the expected outcome when internet filtering is done at ISP level. So, again, the question is what would happen to our already very lousy internet connections? Will it deteriorate further? Can we still endure the degradation that internet filtering at ISP level will bring about?
There are many other questions about the implementation of web filtering at ISP level. One is, will it include the HTTPS (secured) sites like those of the banks, money remittance companies, email accounts and even some social networking sites? How sure are we that it will not result to internet surveillance of some individuals and companies? So many questions that cannot be answered for now until the system gets implemented. This is the reason why I plan to make a continuing series of blogs about this issue. I will continue to discuss and monitor the developments on this issue until the time no one knows when.