COTANGENT – By Daphne Cardillo
Over a month ago, Michael Tan of the Philippine Daily Inquirer wrote about digital scandals that is being documented and disseminated by digital technologies and the digital media. Then only a few weeks later, the Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili sex video spread like wild fire. True indeed, mobile phones, digital cameras, video cameras, and computers with web cams can now take instant photos then distribute these photos through VCDs and DVDs or uploaded on the Internet. So sex videos which used to be in the domain of the porn industry have become democratized—produced and mass distributed by any 21st century earthling.
I’ve been wary of these mobile phones with built-in cameras right at the start, for anyone can just take your photo without your knowledge and thus invade your privacy. Useful as these cameras may be for other purposes, but for the nastily inclined, your photo can be taken and then posted on the Internet, altered or modified and shown for international consumption. Digital technologies and digital media may have democratized the world, but the uncontrolled dissemination of information—palatable or otherwise, classified, unedited, or unverified—is a consequence with a high price.
The explosion of the Kho-Halili sex video broke the lid of the digital scandals that have been in proliferation for some time now, albeit hushed and low key. Celebrities in a way help demystify a situation by raising it to symbolical level or reaching a turning point. The treacherous manner in which the sex video was taken had breached the trust and condition of privacy between the couple, especially on the part of Katrina Halili who was ignorant of the fact that their sexual act was video-taped by Hayden Kho.
Hayden Kho, with his emotional disturbance, may be liable for video-taping his sexual encounters with different women without their consent. And these sex videos could have been in existence for quite a time now and only for his personal viewing thus, in safe hands. Until his laptop computer was confiscated by erstwhile girlfriend Vicky Belo who did not know how to handle the material. Knowledge indeed is a burden especially when it is irresponsibly spread to an uncontrolled audience.
But the celebrity status of the persons involved in this sex video scandal brought national attention and called for the needed legislation. For there are a lot of victims, mostly impressionable young women like students who became the subject of many digital scandals, and these unknown victims remain ignored and unprotected by the government. For there are a lot of perpetrators, stealthily taking scandalous photos and videos and criminally using the footages for commercial purposes, and yet they have not been caught.
It is quite a sad commentary that we have to wait for prominent people to be victims to make us see that the same crime had long been done on the ordinary ones. Like for Benigno Aquino to be shot to rouse us out of stupor and realize the gravity of extra-judicial killings. Ours is still an elite society, and a case or an issue is only magnified and treated with seriousness once the victim comes from the upper class.
So far, those reported video scandals are usually sexual adventures and encounters outside of marriage. It only suggests that sex in marriage is still considered sacred and strictly private. And that these digital technologies and digital media have become a control mechanism for the permissiveness of such sexual encounters outside of marriage. One cannot only blackmail you with the stolen footages of such encounters, but disseminate the footages freely to the entire world with a vengeance!