Globe blocks over 2.5K sites to combat child pornography

Globe blocks over 2.5K sites to combat child pornography

MANILA – A total of 2,521 websites have so far been blocked by telecommunications service provider Globe in support of the government’s efforts to combat online child pornography.

In a statement on Thursday, Globe welcomed Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles’ warning against internet service providers (ISP) to put a stop to the circulation of such malicious content or suffer possible sanctions.

Since the passage of Republic Act 9775, also known as the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, Globe has complied and blocked sites that have been identified by law enforcement agencies, those endorsed by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for blocking, or identified through Globe’s Security Operations Center intelligence.

It also invested USD2.7 million in a content-filtering system, the “PlayItRight” program, that target illegal/pirated content and online child pornography.

Anton Bonifacio, Globe chief information security officer, said while filtering software was an important first step in controlling illegal content, there remains a need for lawmakers and law enforcers to “address certain realities.”

“The digital ecosystem has evolved rapidly and ISPs cannot win this battle alone,” Bonifacio said.

He noted that most illegal sites are not hosted in the servers of ISPs but are hosted in the cloud or off-shore servers and are fully encrypted, thus limiting the effectiveness of content-based filters.

“In effect, we actually have a very limited view of the content unless we break the encryption, which would be difficult to do without being intrusive to our customer’s devices,” Bonifacio said.

He said illicit activities use different popular social media platforms to make their content readily accessible, with the United National Children’s Fund specifically citing Tiktok as one of the highly popular platforms used to circulate malicious content.

“These are easily accessible and shareable to others, and impossible to block without blocking the entire platform completely. The only way to curb this content at these types of platforms is for the government to also pressure social media platforms or content providers to stop delivering this type of content to consumers,” Bonifacio said.

On Wednesday, PLDT-Smart said a total of 3,011 websites hosting child pornography have so far been blocked by the ISPs.

Earlier, Nograles said the rise of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children during the pandemic has caught the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte and has ordered the NTC to crack down on ISPs for failure to block such content. (PNA)

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