[Mirror] Tuliao, Paolo

Summer 2011

Body Scanners are the “IN” thing

Body screening technologies, some of them using ionizing radiations, are now considered to be used for security checking, for example at airports in western countries such as the United States, Canada and the European Union. And so far, the installation of this equipments has evidently strengthen their campaign against terrorism, unfortunately though, this high-tech piece of equipment have not yet found a home in our jurisdiction, probably because we are predominantly a conservative nation, and for us, privacy is the most, if not one the most sacred right that must never be breached or violated. But in every issue there is always a good and a bad side.

[Picture “body-scanners-372” in the original]

Let’s start with the good news.

Full-body scanners use different systems, but there are two main competing technologies: Backscatter x-ray and millimeter-wave. Both of these use radiation (of a non-harmful kind, before you start worrying) that penetrates clothing.
Backscatter body scanners subject you to a far gentler burst of x-rays, and then detects those ones that are bounced back (scientifically: “backscattered”) from your body, or objects on your person towards the machine. Concealed packets containing liquid bombs, drugs, or ceramic knives that would otherwise have passed through metal detectors undetected scatter the x-rays and are shown up. While, Millimeter wave tech uses a similar system, with rays transmitted out to you and bounced back. But in this case technology borrowed from military radar designs allows for detailed “radar” images of your body to be created in a computer, and there’s no use of the scary-sounding “x-ray” science. Detection of foreign, concealed objects on a body work the same.

[Picture “airport-body-scanners” in the original]

As such, both systems are absolutely ideal for defeating the efforts of some knife-wielding would-be hijackers or bomb-laden terrorists.

Now, the bad news. As mentioned earlier, privacy in this nation is a very sacred right that even the government has a difficulty of regulating due to our high-Christian culture. Hence, the intention of our legislature in attempting to enact a law to provide life to this systems shall most likely be archived. The reason is that these things do certainly reveal your weapons but they also reveal your body. Down to the furry bits, given that they’re going to have to be human-operated like the baggage machines, that means you’re effectively going to be taking your clothes off for that NAIA officer (you are lucky if your a guy, not so for ladies).

[Picture “ffull-body-scanners” in the original]

Now its time to move to the legal aspect. Our 1987 Constitution provides in Article III Section 2, it states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers…”, and in Section 3, “The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law. There is no iron clad about privacy. So therefore, it is safe to say that under the Police Power of the state, privacy can be regulated for security purposes, especially today where there is rampant acts of terrorism. But is there a legal basis such act? Under our statutes, there are none, but fortunately under the United Nations Resolution no. 1373 also known as the UN Anti-Terrorism Resolution, where the Philippines is a signatory and under Article II Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution, “The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.” Under the resolution, all member states shall “Take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts, including by provision of early warning to other States by exchange of information”, and necessary acts shall definitely include the installation of these equipments to our airports and ports. So, therefore, appearance of these equipments are a very much welcome so long as it will give us peace of mind that we are safe, even if it will cost us a little satisfaction to “peeping toms”.

Free pictures or infringement?

Nowadays we say sculptures whether abstract or detailed in public areas and also in front of high-rise commercial building commonly seen in Makati City, and a lot of people are taking pictures with, printing it or posting it to their own social networking sites. But the question is, is there any copyright infringement on the part of those people who take pictures? Is the owner of the establishment has a cause of action? or is it the sculptor who has the right to initiate a suit?

The question can be answered in many ways, but the law is not silent on the matter.
Under sec. 155 of the Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines infringement means that there must be a reproduction or colorable imitation of a registered mar or dominant feature thereof and there must be likelihood to cause confusion or mistakes to the mind of the public.

So if the two acts are present there is definitely infringement. But is it really present if I take pictures of me and my friends in let say, “the Rizal monument?”…I don’t think there is. Taking pictures does not make any reproduction or colorable imitation of such work that would cause confusion to the public. Colorable imitation connotes close ingenious imititation enough to deceive or such a resemblance as to deceive an ordinary purchaser (Ethepha vs. Director of Patents and Westmount Pharmaceuticals GR no. L – 20635)

Also such act is covered by what is known as the “Fair use doctrine”. It is a privilege of persons other than the owners of the the copyright, to use the copyrighted material in a reasonable manner without his consent, notwithstanding the monopoly granted to the owner of the copyright (Sec. 185 Intellectual Property Code).

So with this, I hope that people will relieved and they will feel free to take pictures since its a good way of reminiscing.

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