Cabinet endorses measures against online smut


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 15 Jun 2005

BY H. AMIR KHALID

CYBERJAYA: Smut is out at cyber cafés. A new ruling requires owners to filter obscene and indecent content on the net before they are given a licence. 

This anti-pornography move is among four recommendations approved by the Cabinet to restrict access to smut via personal computers and mobile phones. 

Announcing this, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the other three measures were: 

·GETTING Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunications companies to provide Internet users an optional service to filter out obscene and indecent content; the service will be made available at cost. 

·SETTING up a centre to handle complaints on obscene and indecent content; this will be hosted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC). 

·ENCOURAGING government agencies and the private sector to carry out awareness campaigns against online porn-ography. 

His ministry and the Energy, Water and Communications Ministry submitted the recommendations jointly, Dr Jamaluddin said at a media briefing on the upcoming Global Public Policy Conference 2005. 

The meeting, organised by the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry of Malaysia (Pikom), will be held in Kuala Lumpur in September. 

The Government’s effort to stem the tide of online pornography comes in the wake of increasing actions by governments around the world against some of the worst excesses on the Internet, such as the distribution of child pornography. 

Local ISPs had expressed doubt on the effectiveness of blocking access to pornographic websites at the service provider end, arguing that tech-savvy users would find a way of getting around the filters.  

Existing laws allow the authorities to act against those found possessing, selling, displaying or owning indecent materials in physical or digital form, Dr Jamaluddin said. 

These laws include the Penal Code, Film Censorship Act 2002, and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. 

“Some obscene and indecent materials are not restricted in certain countries because they are not illegal there, but such content is illegal here,” Dr Jamaluddin said. 

Research conducted by the National ICT Security and Emergency Response Centre has found that many Malaysian Internet users download obscene materials at the workplace. 

In the meantime, those who wish to lodge complaints of online smut can call the MCMC at 03-8688 8000 or go to its website at www.mcmc.gov.my.  

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