Web Filtering By An ISP Is Now A Law

childpornThe House Bill No. 6640 and Senate Bill No. 2317 had been consolidated and signed into a law that is now known as Republic Act No. 9775 or Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009. I had already posted many articles about this law where I seriously expressed my personal objection on one (1) provision in it and this is about filtering the Internet at ISP (Internet Service Provider) level. Again, I wish to repeat that it is only this portion of the law that I am against. I had written enough and there are many articles in the web on why web filtering by an ISP should not be done.

Now that GMA had signed the anti-child pornography law, what can we expect to happen with the provision embodied in Section 9 which specifies the duties of the Internet Service Provider which state among others that “All ISPs shall install available technology, program or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered”. The same section of the law says that the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of this provision more specifically the installation of the filtering software.

As such, I asked some friends of the Internet café industry on what to do with the IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations) to be promulgated by NTC and I received a good advice from Winthrop Yu of Philippine Internet Commerce Society (PICS) as follows:

What to do with the IRR?  I don’t think it will be possible to *remove* the filtering provision.  What can be done is — (technically) ensure that the filtering has minimum impact on latencies, (legally) ensure that the filtering and monitoring provisions are *not* used for any purpose other than Anti-Child Porn, and (community-wise) include much broader sections of society in the drafting and updating of the filtering blocklist and mechanisms.

Doing further research on “Could Internet filtering do more harm than good?“, I wish to quote a part of the article written by Zack Whittaker of ZDNet as follows:

The filter would not deter paedophiles or CCSO’s from indulging in their desires. The World Wide Web has been around for nearly two decades, but anthropologically speaking in Western society, these crimes would have been accomplished without the aid of an international network of computers. In some areas of the world, what we would call crimes are societal normality’s and even though we would be horrified to see it, their society dictates differently.

Point being, removing access to child sexual abuse imagery online would not deter those who are determined enough. Previous non-offenders could potentially seek out children in their determination to fulfill their need and drive the issue underground and away from law enforcement.

The Internet café industry would be seriously affected if and when web filtering by ISPs would result to further service degradation than what it is now. The industry can no longer afford slower connections that could result to “lags” and RTOs (Run Time Outs). The business is suffering enough from the lousy services by ISPs in the country.

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