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Thousands of child porn websites blocked

SOME 2,521 websites of child pornography and sexual abuse have been blocked upon the recommendation of the National Telecommunications Commission and law enforcement agencies like the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation.

This was revealed in a report submitted to the Department of Justice by the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators (PCTO), which reiterated its commitment to help the government curb online child pornography and sexual abuse in the country.

PCTO is the umbrella organization of duly enfranchised telecommunication entities and internet service providers (ISPs), including telco giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

In a report to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, PCTO said its members will continue to block child pornographic websites as part of their duty under Republic Act (RA) 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

“PCTO condemns child pornography as a reprehensible crime that should be rightfully curtailed by the state. Blocking of unlawful content is a state duty which ISPs support,” the group said.

Section 9 of RA 9775 requires ISPs to notify authorities within 7 days from discovery that any form of child pornography is being committed using their servers or facilities.

The NTC, which is an active member of the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACAP) established by RA 9775, has so far endorsed to the telcos and ISPs more than 6,000 websites and links for blocking.

As of this writing, PCTO member Globe Telecom has blocked a total of 2,521 sites that have been identified by the NTC and law enforcement agencies. The Ayala-owned telco invested in a software filtering system worth $2.7 million to support its “PlayItRight” campaign targeting illegal or pirated content and online child pornography.

Also, PLDT and its subsidiary, Smart Communications, through their Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG), have been actively identifying and blocking child pornography websites when informed by the PNP and NBI.

PLDT and Smart have also provided connectivity and technical assistance to enable services for the quick reporting of cases of online sex exploitation of children through text hotline 7444-64 set up by the PNP Women and Children Protection Center and the International Justice Mission.

During a meeting with the DOJ in March, PCTO—particularly PLDT and SMART—proposed that the government consider the use of a technology solution developed by Microsoft. However, follow-up meetings between the DOJ, the ISPs, other stakeholders and Microsoft did not push through because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, PCTO urged the DOJ to consider amending Section 9 of RA 9775 which it said contained conflicting provisions.

Section 9 requires ISPs to monitor the content passing through their servers and report to authorities any internet address which may contain any form of child pornography.

It also provides that “nothing in this section may be construed to require an ISP to engage in the monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer, of the content of any communication of such person.” This, according to PCTO, in effect nullifies and prevents ISPs from performing the duties imposed under Section 9.

Publication Source :    People's Journal
Hector Lawas
Court reporter for more than 20 years