The Internet For Good and Evil

by Fr. Shay Cullen

Barcelona, Spain – The phone call came from a journalist in Madrid who read I was in Barcelona giving a series of lectures on child protection and the internet and the new Philippine Anti-Child Pornography Law – ” you have been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize, please comment on the report that the “Internet” has been nominated by the Italian computer magazine “wired’ for that prestigious prize”, he asked. A weird question but it shows how important the internet has become in international communications and in the battle for good and evil. It is a very important and powerful instrument for good or evil like spreading child porn around the world and it is a force for much good combating abuse and opposing all forms of human rights violations. It cannot be a subject for a prize, I answered.

It does not promote peace in itself; it is the people who use it to advance peace and justice that are nominated. Besides, only invited persons and institutions such as parliamentarians and academia can nominate someone for the Nobel Peace Prize. He seemed satisfied and hung-up.

The newly passed Philippine Anti-Child Pornography Law has many people and corporations on the edge of their corporate seat. The Internet Server Providers (ISPs) and corporations are mandated by law to install blocking software to prevent people from accessing child porn websites and to prevent such illegal and horrendous images being accidentally accessed or popping up on web pages.

Let’s get it clear what we are talking about here. There is a billion dollar international illegal industry that buys and sells images, photos, videos, and depictions of children being sexually-abused. There are thousands of children viciously abused and their personalities and lives destroyed in the making of the pictures and recordings. There are also children abused live on cameras attached to a computer and the sexual acts are transmitted live to paying customers.

This cyber-sex, as it is called, is rampant and until recently all forms of child pornography was freely available in the Philippines. Besides abusing the child in the making of the illegal images, the distribution network is the advertising agency of the international pedophilia Mafia. Child sex abusers drool over the images and fantasize about abusing children and the terrible thing is that some of them are incited and aroused by the abuse of children at the first opportunity. Even comics and cartoons showing explicit sex act with children or between children are banned since they incite abuse.

Many of these criminals are members of secret networks where abusers share thousands of illegal pictures over the internet and even the smartest hackers and police techies cannot break them. The cyber police can’t easily infiltrate them either because the network demands that the applicant supplies first images of himself sexually abusing a child as the requirement to join.

Recently, the newspaper where this column appears weekly, The Manila Times, ran a front page story about the concern of a Manila university business school that the anti-child pornography law will be easily abused by government intelligence agencies to violate privacy and read email and spy on citizens.

However, in a society where government tolerated death squads operate with impunity, can we imagine that they don’t hack email daily? For sure you can presume its common practice under anti-terrorist monitoring and surveillance and they are well-trained by international intelligence agencies. If you need privacy, use encryption software, but it can’t be trusted. How do we know the spy agencies did not secretly write the encryption software themselves? What’s the better way to know the secrets of those that want such privacy?

( shaycullen@gmail.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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