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PLDT, Smart block 522k child abuse links, seek child protection cooperation

Staff ni Anjie

PLDT, Smart block 522k child abuse links, seek child protection cooperation

PLDT and its wireless division, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), keep working hard to keep kids safe online. The Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) of PLDT and Smart has blocked more than 522,000 URLs that show child sexual abuse materials as of the end of November 2022. (CSAM).

PLDT, Smart block 522k child abuse links, seek child protection cooperation
PLDT, Smart block 522k child abuse links, seek child protection cooperation

Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart, said at the 2022 National Cybercrime Convention in Manila that the PLDT Group's blocking technology was a key part of the fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC). "Our pioneering Child Protection Platform has allowed us to block CSAM online at the more difficult content level," he said. By the end of November, we had stopped over 1.3 billion attempts to open content that was harmful to children.

The fact that the PLDT Group is a member of the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection's Project Arachnid has helped its Child Protection Platform reach more people. The Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) of PLDT and Smart regularly gets CSAM hashes from the two organizations, which the telcos block immediately.

PLDT and Smart again said that they would help the government fight OSAEC. PLDT and Smart have built child safety into their customer experience, cybersecurity innovations, and solutions because they know that children are some of their most active end-users.

Related: Cebu's first Marriott Resort offers seamless connectivity powered by PLDT and Smart

At the Evidence2Action (E2A) conference, which was put on by USAID Asia, CTIP, Winrock International, and Freedom Collaborative, PLDT and Smart told local and international stakeholders about their online child protection campaigns and best practices.

"We have adopted the Children's Rights and Business Principles framework and passed a Child Safeguarding Policy," said Melissa Vergel De Dios, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of Investor Relations at PLDT and Smart. "This policy tells us how to apply a child rights lens to our policies, technology solutions, and shared value partnerships, both inside our organization and in the communities where we work."

At the recent Global Child Forum in Stockholm, Sweden, Cathy Yang, FVP and Group Head of Corporate Communications for PLDT and Smart, had the chance to talk about the Group's partnerships with different stakeholders on child protection. She said, "PLDT and Smart believe in a whole-of-nation approach to solving OSAEC. We work closely with key government offices and law enforcement agencies to develop a comprehensive plan that tries to keep children from becoming victims and starts programs that help communities become stronger.

PLDT and Smart also joined the WePROTECT Global Alliance in the middle of the year to help fight OSAEC in more ways. The alliance lets PLDT and Smart use global resources, connect with similar groups, and find out what they are doing to keep kids safe online. The Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online is backed by the UK Government, the European Commission, and the US Department of Justice. The Alliance brings together experts from governments, the private sector, civil society, and international organizations to come up with policies and solutions to protect children and stop online child abuse around the world.

This year, Republic Act No. 11930, also called the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act, was signed into law. PLDT and Smart worked hard to improve it. The Group pushed especially hard for the "Good Samaritan" clause, which would let internet service providers (ISPs) take down offensive content right away without being held civilly, criminally, or administratively liable. The two telcos said they were willing to help the government write the RA 11930 Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Together with the International Justice Mission, PLDT and Smart have been working with the Justice Department's Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking, which includes the Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Center (PNP WCPC), to improve technology and law enforcement's ability to stop OSAEC and bring those responsible to justice.

The PLDT Group is also working with local groups to help them fight against child abuse and exploitation. Local laws and policies about internet safety and protecting children have been changed by PLDT and Smart. This is supported by programs that teach parents, teachers, and other vital people how to protect children from online predators and ensure they can go online safely.

This year, PLDT and Smart also looked into capacity-building programs with ECPAT Philippines to bring more attention to OSAEC and give teachers and other local caregivers a chance to learn how to keep kids safe online.

The group also worked with Google to adapt the "Be Internet Awesome" curriculum to the Philippines and make a web series based on the universal and Filipino values of being Smart, Alert, Strong, Brave, and Kind to help kids and families stay safe and healthy online.

All of these projects show that PLDT and Smart are committed to helping the country reach UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 16, which calls for just, peaceful, and inclusive societies and an end to the abuse, exploitation, trafficking, violence, and torture of children.

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