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PLDT, Smart block 522k child abuse links

PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) blocked more than 522,000 URLs that show child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), as of end-November 2022.

Overall, “We have prevented more than 1.3 billion attempts to open child abuse content,” according to Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart.

“Our pioneering Child Protection Platform has allowed us to block CSAM online on the more difficult content level,” he pointed out.

The PLDT Group’s organically developed blocking technology was the key to the fight against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

PLDT, Smart block 522K child abuse links

Being members of the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Project Arachnid, PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) regularly receive CSAM hashes that they immediately block.

Recognizing that children are among their active end-users, PLDT and Smart embedded child safety into their customer experience, cybersecurity strategy and solutions.

“We apply a child rights lens into our policies from inside our organization and outwards, to the communities where we operate,” noted Melissa Vergel De Dios, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of Investor Relations at PLDT and Smart.

“PLDT and Smart believe in a whole-of-nation approach to solving OSAEC,” says Cathy Yang, FVP and Group Head of Corporate Communications.

“We work with key government offices as well as law enforcement agencies to come up with a comprehensive plan to prevent children from being victimized and launch programs that empower communities,” she added.

To expand efforts against OSAEC, both telcos likewise joined the WePROTECT Global Alliance backed by the United Kingdom Government, the European Commission, and the United States Department of Justice’s Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online.

PLDT and Smart participated in strengthening Republic Act No. 11930 or the Anti-Online Sexual Abuse or Exploitation of Children (OSAEC) and Anti-Child Sexual Abuse or Exploitation Materials (CSAEM) Act that was passed into law this year.

The PLDT Group pushed for the inclusion of the ‘Good Samaritan’ clause to empower internet service providers (ISP) to immediately take down offensive materials without being held civilly, criminally or administratively liable.

The two telcos had expressed their commitment in helping the government craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 11930.

Together with the International Justice Mission, PLDT and Smart have been collaborating with the Justice Department’s Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking.

Furthermore, the PLDT Group coordinates with communities to support grassroots movement against child abuse and exploitation.

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