A collective effort: Philippines fights online child sexual abuse
PLDT – the largest telco in the Philippines – has blocked over 1.3 billion attempts to access child sexual abuse content with its own child protection platform since November 2022, which checks user queries against a database of known web addresses with sexual abuse content.
PLDT – the largest telco in the Philippines – has blocked over 1.3 billion attempts to access child sexual abuse content with its child protection platform since November 2022, which checks user queries against a database of known web addresses with sexual abuse content.
With the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) support, the company can block items confirmed to contain child sexual abuse by using a unique ‘hash’ – a type of digital fingerprint – provided by the IWF. It can help prevent further victimisation of victims of child sexual abuse, prevent web users from being exposed to such images, and help stop paedophile access to such content on the internet. PLDT’s main competitor, Globe Telecom, has also partnered with the IWF to strengthen the protection of children online.
The Philippines has been identified as the largest source of online child sexual exploitation content worldwide. Online sexual abuse and exploitation are estimated to affect two million Filipino children. In 2022, the Philippine Congress passed a law that makes it a criminal offence to produce, distribute, possess or make available child sexual abuse material. The law details the obligations of internet service providers, content hosts, social networking sites and financial institutions to block the material.
The province of Cebu launched a three-year online child safety programme, Project Scrol, which aims to engage internet service providers, telecommunications companies, money transfer companies and technology companies to build a system for quick access to justice and reporting and referral channels for victims of online child sexual exploitation. The project will provide law enforcement and frontline service providers for abused and vulnerable children with digital child safety and protection training.