The Dark Side of the Internet
Fr. Shay Cullen
17 January 2020
It was a hot-blooded crime last December 2019, done with a terrorist and “Jihadist” motivation of anger and hatred, that caused the violent deaths of three US sailors who were shot dead at the Naval Air Station Pensacola. The killer was Mohammed Alshamrani, a 21 year-old member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who was training at the base with his 21 companions. He was killed by security. Fifteen of the twenty-one other Saudi trainees on the course were found to have anti-American and jihadist comments on their laptops, according to the FBI, and equally shocking that they had child pornography contents on their laptops too.
This connection of child pornography with extremist ideological views is a new troubling dimension of child sexual abuse for many readers and child’s rights defenders. Possession and viewing of acts of child rape is an indication of the desire to actually sexually abuse a child. What kind of screening was done by the military before allowing these officers to join a training programme? Besides the fact that they were not charged under US laws for the possession of child pornography was likely a tainted and morally wrong political decision. Since Saudi Arabia is such an important military partner and buyer of American made weapons with billions of dollars in sales, the law was bypassed.
Child protection and law enforcement officials in the US are surely dumfounded at the Trump decision to allow them to fly back to Saudi Arabia scot-free considering that the never-to-be-forgotten 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York was carried out by terrorists, most of whom were Saudi extremists.
The proliferation of child pornography around the word leads in many cases to direct contact with children for sexual assault and many acts are done with violence or the threat of it. Children are terrified and traumatized and the graphic images of children being abused propels pedophiles to go out and do it in person, most likely in poor countries like the Philippines. Cyber-sex is the sexual abuse of children on live internet connection to mostly Western pedophiles in the developed rich countries’ and they send payment by couriers to the abusing persons to commit the despicable heinous acts.
Most of the evil child porn is hidden on the dark web, this is the encrypted part of the internet where few ordinary people can access, and law enforcement can rarely go. But pedophiles and criminals roam freely with passwords and access. While police are constantly monitoring the internet for child pornography and are very successful, yet much more is undiscovered.
Many pedophiles travel abroad to sexually abuse vulnerable children. Preventing that is the intent of the successful Australian law banning travel abroad to convicted pedophiles. Such a similar law has been pending before the Irish Parliament for almost two years filed by independent member Maureen O’Sullivan. Its intent is to protect vulnerable children in the Philippines and elsewhere. The Irish parliamentarians, to their eternal shame, have failed to act on it. Now, the Irish government has called new elections and all pending laws will fall and have to be re-filed again. It is the game of politics as in the US decision to let the Saudi trainees go free that allows child abuse to proliferate.
The child porn images are spreading around the world through the internet and the internet service providers (ISPs) in every country that do not have filters and child pornography-blocking technology are aiding and abetting these crimes against children. In the Philippines, where cyber-sex and child pornography is horrifying, the telecommunications 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 regulatory 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 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 and child pornography. They have not been charged or found guilty of any crime. This is amazing since the law was passed in 2009 yet cyber-sex and child porn is the most prolific internet child crime in the Philippines until the present.
In 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.” On January 30, 2014, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) issued a memorandum circular ordering the ISPs to comply with the law. The memorandum 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, and soon Huawei apparently flout the law and refuse to comply. Child pornography is everywhere, even on the cellphones of children, so it’s clear the elite dynasties and their corporate partners run the country. So will government protect the rights of children and place them before profits?