PLDT is ramping up its efforts to protect children from online predators. The telco said it has blocked more than 2,900 sites linked to online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. PLDT added that it is constantly working with the government to beef up cyber defenses against these crimes.
The company is also exploring opportunities with other organizations to promote children’s welfare. After seeking the guidance of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it has integrated child-safeguarding policies into its business. These cover various processes and programs for the workplace, marketing activities, product and service offerings, and trade community engagements.
PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), have also provided connectivity and technical assistance to the PNP text hotline 7444-64 for quick reporting of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.
Online safety for everyone
The Philippines’ largest and only integrated telecommunications company is also going beyond protecting children on the internet. It has doubled down on keeping all its subscribers safe from malicious activities, now that more of them are spending time online whether for work or for online learning.
Angel Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer and First Vice President at PLDT, ePLDT, and Smart noted that hackers have also increased their activities since the start of the quarantine, “In July alone, our cybersecurity operations center has blocked more than 12 billion attempts by our subscribers to open compromised pages. That’s more than 24 times the total attempts blocked in the first quarter of the year.”
PLDT is also actively working with other players in the industry to provide a safe online environment for children. Last month, the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators (PCTO) urged the government to amend RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, citing “conflicting” provisions.
In their position paper submitted to the Department of Justice, the group pointed out Section 9 of the law that obliges internet service providers to notify authorities within seven days from the discovery that any form of child pornography is being committed using its server or facility. The provision requires them to install software or use available technology that will block or filter any content that promotes these illicit materials.
But the same section also prohibits ISPs from monitoring any user or peeking into their messages, thereby nullifying and preventing them from performing their duties as required by the law. Furthermore, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Law does not allow ISPs to actively monitor content as this violates the right to privacy.
PLDT, along with fellow PCTO members, condemns child pornography as a reprehensible crime that should rightfully be curtailed by the government. While discussions with lawmakers and concerned government agencies are still ongoing, PLDT is committed to working with the PNP and the NBI to actively identify and block child pornography websites.