3K sites blocked for online child protection: PLDT-Smart

3K sites blocked for online child protection: PLDT-Smart

MANILA – A total of 3,011 websites that host illicit content involving children have so far been blocked by PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart.

In a statement on Wednesday, PLDT-Smart said the blocked websites were based on the mandate of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to continue protecting Filipino netizens from online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSEAC).

“The PLDT Group is also building up further the capacity of its network-based child protection platform and is currently testing additional technologies that would allow automatic blocking of end-user access to OSAEC or child pornographic content,” the statement read.

Angel Redoble, chief information security officer of the ePLDT Group, said users who will attempt to open these blacklisted websites will automatically be redirected to a landing page informing them of the site’s violation of the country’s Anti-Child Pornography Law.

To further protect netizens from malicious content, he said the PLDT Group is also expanding its intelligence sources on domains with identified OSAEC content through seeking membership with the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) that will provide the company with access to a “rich database” of web pages linked to child sexual abuse.

“With the completion of this IWF membership in the first quarter of 2021, we look forward to contributing more to multisectoral efforts to end this crime against our children,” Redoble said.

As part of its regulatory compliance and investments in network technology, the PLDT Group has also rolled out its own Child Safeguarding Policy, made in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

Amid the shift to blended learning and heightened exposure of children to the internet during the Covid-19 pandemic, Smart has worked with UNICEF, the Department of Education, and the National Privacy Commission in rolling out its CyberSmart: Cybersecurity Beyond Digital learning series in 2020.

The program, it said, provided students with information on how to safeguard their digital presence.

It said Smart is also expanding its support to community-based programs with the aim of eliminating OSAEC in the country.

Moreover, the PLDT Group also supported the position of the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators in urging Congress to reconcile conflicting laws that impact compliance of internet service providers and hamper anti-child pornography efforts.

On Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the rise of cases of OSAEC during the pandemic has caught the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte.

To address the issue, Duterte has directed the NTC to immediately impose sanctions on internet service providers that have allowed their platform to be used for such malicious content. (PNA)

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