The suffering caused by uncontrolled internet

THE shock and trauma of child sexual abuse caused by uncontrolled content on Internet platforms and routed through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) servers is lifelong. Hundreds of thousands of children as young as 3 are being psychologically damaged and traumatized by being sexually abused in live sex shows across the internet, and teenagers are being filmed and their images of abuse are being shared around the world through the dark web and the internet for sexual gratification by pedophiles.

Child sexual abuse materials allowed on platforms of telecom giants and high-tech companies like TikTok, Google, Facebook, Twitter, PLDT, Globe, DITO and many more are at an all-time high.

Thousands of children are being psychologically and sexually abused online as you read these lines. Your children, the children of your relatives, could be among them.

Parents cannot know or control what their children see, experience and interact with over the internet, which could harm them for life. The values ​​you instill in your children are being undermined by nurturing, seduction, violence, fake news and sex imagery by the ISPs.

Telecom companies everywhere claim that they are immune from civil liability and not responsible for the content that terrorists, criminals or child molesters post on their social media platforms. It’s a public billboard that’s free for everyone. Because the US law, known as the Communications Decency Act of 1996 Section 230, grants immunity to social media platforms – unlike newspapers, radio and television, which are responsible and liable for content.

At the same time, this Section 230 conflicts with laws that prohibit content that contains racism, misogyny, child abuse and excessive material that promotes terrorism, as well as the live streaming of child sexual abuse programs and other objectionable material. The powerful Philippine law, Republic Act (RA) 11930, bans all child abuse materials and requires Philippine telecom companies to install blocking software, although many do not and are reluctant to allow independent inspections of compliance. Any person found with such material on their cell phone or computer device can be sentenced to a minimum of 20 years in prison.

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Not long ago, three 10- and 11-year-old boys bought a smartphone and a cheap 1-2 hour internet connection from a telecom ISP. They easily found child sexual abuse material online and viewed it, downloaded it and viewed it multiple times. They were so sexually aroused that they found and raped a 6-year-old girl after seeing the offensive pictures on the internet. Because it’s allowed to be posted and not blocked, there’s little parents can do about it. The ISPs won’t stop it despite RA 11930 as the police officers don’t know how to monitor the ISPs.

The fact that such material is readily available online and can be easily found by children on the internet, leading them to abuse other children, is shocking to society in a world mistaken by many to be Christian and civilized. Society today is far removed from gospel values. The institutional church teaches sacramental practice for believers to get to heaven and avoid hell.

It has largely failed to evangelize and preach the gospel of social justice, charity, and child protection, with few exceptions, but has covered up child sexual abuse by clergy.

The Internet platforms and ISPs enable and support these crimes and encourage them through artificial intelligence algorithms and software.

Exactly these questions are currently being heard before the US Supreme Court this week. The telecom and social media companies claim they are not responsible and have immunity from prosecution under Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act of 1996, which says the companies are not liable for what others do on their websites publish.

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This is contradicted, as mentioned above, by other laws that insist that all platforms must monitor their platforms and remove all indecent materials that lead to crime, hate, racism, extreme violence, obscenity and child abuse. The question is: Should Section 230 be repealed and will the US Supreme Court Justices do so or not, and does this US law apply in the Philippines and does it transcend Philippine sovereignty? That’s for the Philippine courts to decide.

Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act makes a major distinction between ISPs and other media publications such as radio, television and newspapers, which are severely restricted and can be sued for libel or obscene content. ISPs Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube make billions of dollars using ad revenue to get customers to stay on their social media platforms for as long as possible. To achieve this, they have resorted to using artificial intelligence software and algorithms to recommend, suggest and push more and more relevant material to their website visitors in order to increase ad revenue. Even if this is used to promote illegal material such as sexual abuse and exploitation of children or acts of terrorism, they supposedly don’t care.

This is the question before the US Supreme Court. The Gonzales family suffered the deaths of their children in terrorist attacks and is suing YouTube, owned by Google, for promoting terrorist websites and terrorist recruitment and propaganda. They say YouTube and Google support and support acts of terrorism that killed their child.

Such acts are prohibited by anti-terrorist laws.

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The outcome of the US Supreme Court deliberations could come as a shock to the powerful social media companies that control so many lives, especially vulnerable children. Also, social media companies exploit, support and encourage child abuse online by failing to block live child sexual abuse shows and allow them to connect with customers and traverse ISPs’ computers.

They use artificial intelligence software and algorithms to recommend, suggest and push more of these images to customers.

Here they don’t have the protection of Section 230. It’s one thing to post material on their websites that they claim is trying to remove, but allowing software to automatically find more abusive material and deliver it to the customer is a crime in itself, some say.

Will the US Supreme Court justices rule in favor of the social media companies or in favor of protecting the public from this uncontrolled dissemination of obscene child abuse images? We will soon know when the decision is made as to whether or not they have the intelligence and moral strength to protect children.