Internet café regulation approved in 1st reading

A PROPOSED ordinance requiring all establishments offering internet services to the public to provide appropriate programs and software to prevent access to pornographic websites was approved on its first reading by the Baguio City Council.

Authored by Councilors Elaine Sembrano and Maria Mylen Yaranon, the ordinance requires all internet establishments, owners or managers and other enterprise or offices providing Wi-Fi services to the public to provide or install proper filters or programs in their computer units used in the business to block or deprive customers’ access to pornographic sites.

The ordinance also prevents customers or clients to open, view or download from any website containing sexually explicit materials from the internet while within the establishment offering such internet service.

All establishments offering access to the internet are also required to post written notices in a conspicuous place within the premise of the establishment or office and on unit of computer used in the business.

Enclosing or placing computer units in cubicles where a client is concealed or hidden from the public view while using the internet will likewise be prohibited. Glass panels will be recommended as dividers of spaces for each computer unit as a measure to monitor the client’s activity.

Under the proposed law, minors will not be allowed to be inside an internet establishment during class hours from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1a.m. to 4p.m.

Weekends, legal holidays, summer Christmas vacations and upon presenting permit or any other form of authorization issued by duly authorized school authorities will be put into exemption. Additionally, minors will not be allowed to stay or loiter inside internet café or to be online for more than two hours or stay beyond 8:00 in the evening.

A City Internet Monitoring Committee (CIMC) will be formed and tasked by the ordinance to monitor the implementation and compliance to the proposed ordinance.

The CIMC will coordinate with appropriate authorities of the city government and national line agencies, particularly in information dissemination campaign against Pornographic Websites including the inspection of internet establishments.

Internet establishment, business owner, manager or operator who violated the ordinance will be fined P1,000 for first offense, P3,000 and suspension of the business operation for three months for second offense, and P5,000 and cancellation or non-renewal of business permit for the third and subsequent offenses.

The ordinance, in addition, expressed the easy access to pornographic and sensual websites in the internet poses danger to the psycho-social and moral development and orientation of the public especially the youth. (Alvin Orpilla/Colegio de Dagupan)
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