[Mirror] Ang, Jefferson

Summer 2011

Opinion: Proposed Importation of Body Scanner for MIA Terminals

Opinion from a Social Democrat

Is it timely that all four MIA terminals be installed with body scanners? This has been the issue since months ago. In fact, last April 21, 2011 Philippine Star published in its headlines that Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to buy body scanners for four airports, which amounts to Php 10 million per unit. These scanners will be installed in four airport terminals in Metro Manila to identify passengers who carry drugs inside their body, particularly in the female genitals or stomach.

However, there are still controversies and conflicting views with respect to this plan. There are civil liberties campaigners and organizations that advocates privacy and believe that scans represent an invasion of privacy and their introduction may be challenged by other Human Rights Advocates.

In the positive note, this project would definitely help the Philippine government control and avoid drug syndicates traffic illegal drugs and other contrabands in the country. This will also help answer the current problems that MIAA encounters; such as difficulty in recognizing people who carries and conceals illegal stuff inside their body by swallowing the drug capsules or commonly known as mules; or directly inserting this inside female genitals or any part of the body where there is a cavity.

In fact, there are recent incidents of arrests of drug carriers captured at MIA terminals, which confirmed that heroin, cocaine, and other illegal drugs were hidden inside female genitals or swallowed inside the stomach. Some people were encouraged to do these transactions even if it is against their will because of the huge sum of money in exchange for the service. This would even pose hazards and high risks in the health of these people.

Discovery channel also has a documentary investigation about the abuse of human body in order to smuggle drugs worldwide. Eight methods of smuggling drugs were identified through its investigation. First, by stomach, method of smuggling small amounts of drugs is through swallowing, drug mules numb the throat to ingest large quantities of capsules, latex balloons such as condoms or gloves, or packets filled with drugs. Second, is by inserting drugs inside the sole of flip-flops or other eclectic objects. Third is through animals like dogs, trying to smuggle liquid drugs in puppies, intended to pass through customs as show dogs. Fourth is through the children, adults use to strap drugs along the legs of the children since customs would not bother to inspect innocent children. Fifth, by bugs, a custom official in Netherlands in 2007 discovered a shipment of 100 dead beetles – chock full cocaine. Sixth, by tombstone, which drug is inserted inside of it. Seventh, drugs are capable to be inserted inside power cords of laptops, and this already happened in Miami International Airport in March 2008. Eight, amazingly, through padding the drugs inside the bra.

These are just some of the current problems that may be fixed if body scanners will be installed. Whole-body imaging technologies can see through clothing to reveal metallic and non-metallic objects, including weapons or plastic explosives. However, the body scanner that the authorities should purchase and install must not be capable to reveal person’s silhouette and outline of underwear, because this may be the reason of certain conservative individuals and civil liberties campaigners to oppose such project.

Apart from said benefits it may provide, this technology would also ensure that Philippines is almost weapon-free, and terrorist-free inside the airport and during the flight. Tourism industry will definitely be promoted and will contribute bigger income and greater cash flow in the country.

The only thing that authorities and legislators should consider and create before fully implementing the installation of body scanners in four MIA terminals is the limitation and restriction with respect to right usage of the machine in order to avoid abuse of privacy and other aspects that may be a violation of human rights.


Opinion: Would you be held liable under the copyright law when you take a picture with a sculpture or monument in a public place?

Would you be held liable under the copyright law when you take a picture with a sculpture or monument in a public place and post it in internet? This question made me ponder for three days. There are a lot of people who takes pictures around the world and they would normally post it in the internet.

Photographers, tourists, artists, travelers, bloggers and the likes are the people who, most often than not, do this. For professional photographers, they advertise their photography works in the internet to create popularity in their creations. Usually, pictures taken are concepts of a beautiful and astonishing structures and subjects in order to capture the attention of the viewers and entice them to avail photography services. It is a clear advertising of their work with the help of the subject, which is the sculpture or monument or certain attraction, and not advertising the concept of the sculpture or monument itself.

While for tourists and travelers, they take pictures with the sculpture or attraction in a public place not only to post it in the internet and tell to the world that “hey, I was here!” There are some people who would want to provide information or idea to other travelers or tourists; either to promote a wonderful place for vacation or tour; or provide education information or experience about the place.

However, is it the right thing to do? Here in the Philippines, there are already instances where people were prohibited to take picture in a public place using Digital Single-Lens Reflex Camera or DSLR Camera. In Rockwell Powerplant Mall, security guards prohibit people taking the interior and exterior structure or facade of the mall, and would tell them that they need to get permit from the administration officer before taking pictures. This is also true in Tagaytay Highlands and Manila Bay when taking picture of the sunset and Taal volcano. The idea would be, permission and permit are required from the authorized officers to prevent photographers be held liable under the copyright law. As such, when a person is permitted to take pictures, he will not be held liable because permission is obtained from the creator or authorized officer who is in charge to secure and protect the work from any unfair market competition.

The law provides protection to creators and authors of certain creation in order to avoid unfair competition. Under letter g, section 172 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines, it states that:
Literary and artistic works, hereinafter referred to as “works”, are original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment of their creation and shall include in particular (g) works of drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, engraving, lithography or other works of art, models or designs for works of art.
With that, it is apparent that people should ask permission and permit first from the creator before taking pictures of the works, as this is also protected under the moral and economic rights of the creator. However, there are certain limitations provided under the law which allows certain acts that will not prevent the photographers from taking pictures without asking permission. This is so provided under section 184 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines:

Section 184.1. Notwithstanding the provisions of Chapter V, the following acts shall not constitute infringement of copyright:

(a) the recitation or performance of a work, once it has been lawfully made accessible to the public, if done privately and free of charge or if made strictly for a charitable or religious institution or society;

(b) The making of quotations from a published work if they are compatible with fair use and only to the extent justified for the purpose, including quotations from newspaper articles and periodicals in the form of press summaries: Provided, That the source and the name of the author, if appearing on the work, are mentioned;

(c) The reproduction or communication to the public by mass media of articles on current political, social, economic, scientific or religious topic, lectures, addresses and other works of the same nature, which are delivered in public if such use is for information purposes and has not been expressly reserved: Provided, That the source is clearly indicated;

(d) The reproduction and communication to the public of literary, scientific or artistic works as part of reports of current events by means of photography, cinematography or broadcasting to the extent necessary for the purpose;

(e) The inclusion of a work in a publication, broadcast, or other communication to the public, sound recording or film, if such inclusion is made by way of illustration for teaching purposes and is compatible with fair use: Provided, That the source and of the name of the author, if appearing in the work, are mentioned;

(f) The recording made in schools, universities, or educational institutions of a work included in a broadcast for the use of such schools, universities or educational institutions: Provided, That such recording must be deleted within a reasonable period after they were first broadcast: Provided, further, That such recording may not be made from audiovisual works which are part of the general cinema repertoire of feature films except for brief excerpts of the work;

(g) The making of ephemeral recordings by a broadcasting organization by means of its own facilities and for use in its own broadcast;

(h) The use made of a work by or under the direction or control of the Government, by the National Library or by educational, scientific or professional institutions where such use is in the public interest and is compatible with fair use;

(i) The public performance or the communication to the public of a work, in a place where no admission fee is charged in respect of such public performance or communication, by a club or institution for charitable or educational purpose only, whose aim is not profit making, subject to such other limitations as may be provided in the Regulations;

(j) Public display of the original or a copy of the work not made by means of a film, slide, television image or otherwise on screen or by means of any other device or process: Provided, That either the work has been published, or, that original or the copy displayed has been sold, given away or otherwise transferred to another person by the author or his successor in title; and

(k) Any use made of a work for the purpose of any judicial proceedings or for the giving of professional advice by a legal practitioner.

184.2. The provisions of this section shall be interpreted in such a way as to allow the work to be used in a manner which does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work and does not unreasonably prejudice the right holder’s legitimate interest.

With the above information, it is safe to say that photographers should seek permit and approval from authorized officers before taking pictures to avoid violation of copyright law in the Philippines. Likewise it would also prevent them to be held liable for any acts which constitute unfair competition with respect to the existing Philippine Laws.

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