We lack funding for technology to scan for child porn in airports, says deputy minister – Digitalmunition




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Published on August 3rd, 2020 📆 | 6578 Views ⚑

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We lack funding for technology to scan for child porn in airports, says deputy minister

PETALING JAYA: The lack of funding is why Malaysians airports do not have the technology that can scan for child pornography, says Deputy Multimedia and Communications Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin (pic).

“It requires an allocation and budget from the Finance Ministry, ” said Zahidi in response to Kasthuri Patto (PH-Batu Kawan) in Parliament on Monday (Aug 3).

Kasturi had asked whether the government would emulate other countries such as Australia, in adopting technology to arrest individuals possessing child pornography at airports.

She said that convicted paedophile Richard Huckle was arrested at London’s Gatwick Airport in 2014 after his electronic devices were found to contain a large amount of child pornography.

“How serious is the government on this issue and is the government ready to invest in such technology, as well as provide training to civil servants to track down paedophiles?” she said.

Zahidi said many countries are currently using a technology where the electronic devices of travellers can be scanned at airports to detect child pornography.

“But Malaysia still lacks this technology because we don’t have a budget for that, ” he added.

Zahidi, however, said there is extra funding allocated under his ministry’s Universal Service Provision (USP) programme, which is aimed at improving communication access to areas underserved by the main telecommunication providers.

“If we can use those funds, then we are able to purchase this technology. This depends on the government and the Finance Ministry, ” he said.

Kasthuri, at a press conference shortly after, said this was an issue she had raised during the former Barisan Nasional administration, when Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed was the deputy home minister.

“He (Nur Jazlan) said the same thing. There is no allocation and therefore we cannot follow what the Australian government is doing.

“This is an important issue – do we need an Opposition backbencher MP to raise this? Isn’t there anyone from the ministry?” she said, questioning the lack of political will to tackle the issue.

Kasthuri pointed out that domestic violence and child abuse cases have been on the rise since the movement control order (MCO) was implemented in March to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

She also said Malaysia is among the “popular” regional destinations for child trafficking and paedophilia.

“I hope the Deputy Minister will bring this up in Cabinet. I also hope the Finance Minister will be more sensitive to our demands. This is an investment to protect our children, ” she added.

Over the last few years, various individuals, including Malaysians, have been arrested at countries such as Australia or the United States after child exploitation material was found on their phones at airports.


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