ICT Office, Quezon City—Students from different schools convened at the ICT Office on March 22 as part of the Cybersecurity Youth Dialogue. In attendance were representatives from Asia Pacific College, Philippine Women’s University, Technical University of the Philipppines, Polytechnic University of the Philipppines, University of Perpetual Help – Las Pinas, and the Republican College. The event is second of a four-part series of the ICT Office’s advocacy program for the youth, and inputs from the project will be incorporated to create an advocacy video to prevent cybercrimes.
A Growing Problem on Child Exploitation and How the Youth can Act
Ms. Dolores SD. Alforte, Executive Director of End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) Philippines opened the discussion regarding their advocacy against child exploitation. Ms. Alforte urged the youth to take an active part in being vigilant and responsible information technology (IT) users, spreading awareness offline and online, and reporting suspicious cases.
According to her, 270,000 images of sexual abuse to children are uploaded every day, noting that in one child pornography network alone, they have recovered 12 Petabytes of data. Moreover, they have found out that the Philippines is one of the top ten countries producing child pornography; which is currently a three billion dollar industry.
Closing her talk, Ms. Alforte requested the youth’s active participation in identifying and reporting these kinds of abuses in order to alleviate the problem,
“You know the language and how it works. You can use the language to help us address the issues… There are red flags online and offline and you can help us with these problems.”
Values Formation of the Youth in the Age of Cyberspace
Dr. Maria F. Mangahas, Associate Professor of the Department of Anthropology of the University of the Philippines Diliman, followed with an overview on the effect of cyberspace in the values formation of the youth. She mentioned about how the immersion in cyberspace have led to the creation of a different set of values in the context of understanding technology both as a threat and a tool for change for the society.
As a threat, she sayid that the use of the Internet has harmed people both unintentionally and unintentionally. As a broadcast medium, the Internet has mobilized information faster and farther than before, and that everyone has the ability to broadcast while maintaining anonymity. Putting these factors together, she observed that the internet has been promoting masculine values of risk, rationalizing acts of close observation (“pamboboso”) and voyeurism. This, in turn, manifests in the erosion of values such as the current negative portrayal of women and how they are subjected to defacement such as video scandals.
In the face of this seemingly unavoidable erosion of values, Dr. Mangahas presents a solution—a return to our own set of values as suggested by Sikolohiyang Filipino. She mentions three values, namely: “pakikipagkapwa” (shared humanity), “pakikiramdam” (shared inner perception), and the “Bahala Na” attitude (the ability of an individual to cope with constant change and improvisation). She notes that with these as bases, we refocus our values formation in a Filipino framework, wherein there is no negative value that exists; only values we can learn to move forward with,
“Technology is the first one that affects pakikipagkapwa and pakikiramdam.”
She digresses further into this, stressing the importance of evaluating how we interact with technology as we form the values of the youth, harking the attitude of adaptability brought about by the “Bahala Na” attitude.
On Cybercrime Prevention
Police Senior Inspector Natalio Sanique Junior tackled on the technical side of the dialogue, speaking about the policies regarding cybercrimes. The officer’s topics ranged from the Anti-Child Pornography Act, Anti-Voyeurism Act, and the Cybercrime Law; and other cybercrimes such as scams, phishing, online dating, and credit card fraud.
PSInsp. Sanique provided a word of caution to the youth when they engage in online activities. He requests the youth to contact any form of cybercrime that they observe through Angelnet.ph and for everyone to practice internet safety,
“Our digital footprint is the evidence of our activities;” therefore we should practice vigilance online and offline.
Open Forum and Closing Ceremonies
The crowd had a number of queries, specifically when it came to the legalities and the implementation of the law. An individual even shared the experience of someone he knew, and the panel was kind enough to share their legal and psychological advice.
Ms. Cealita Evans, consultant for the Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Cybersecurity voiced out the aspiration of the ICT Office, “What we are experiencing now are the negativeresults or undesired outcomes when information are breached or data and systems are compromised. These are crimes that are committed in the cyberspace. What we want to achieve is its prevention through our conduct in the use of ICT. We want to be proactive by campaigning aggressively to increase the awareness of the youth on the other facet of the virtual environment through cybersecurity. In doing this we are able to mitigate potential crimes such as identity fraud, cyberstalking, cyber bullying, and theft through breach of data, attacks on personal devices or home systems, etc.
Cybersecurity means that we are securing infrastructures and the cyber environment itself and the information or data that resides within our virtual environment, and in effect, we are creating a safe cyberspace for the Philippines.”
Deputy Executive Director Nicolas D. Ojeda provided the closing remarks to cap off the event, acknowledging the hardships of producing the Youth Dialogue, a project which he initiated two years ago, and then focuses on his purpose for the project,
“The idea was to engage the youth; the youth being the highest consumer of information technology. We do aspire in our office, to not only secure, but to also equip the vulnerable. Thus, we are very much concerned about the possible adverse effects of cyberspace to the youth.”
He also encouraged everyone to use what they have learned to protect themselves and their loved ones. “Please do not leave behind the message we are trying to send. Do share them with your classmates, friends and loved ones. Have them learn what you’ve learned.”