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Amid telcos’ move to block child-porn sites, government readies EO listing sanctions by NTC

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JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Monday said the President has approved the imposition of sanctions against internet service providers (ISPs) in the country by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for their failure to comply with their obligations under Republic Act (RA) 9775.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been pressuring the companies to comply with their duty under the law to install a program or software that will block access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography.

The DOJ lamented it has been 11 years since the passage of RA 9755 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, but the ISP companies continue to be remiss of their duties.

The justice department has seen the need for the ISPs to assume their obligations after the DOJ-Office of Cybercrime reported a 264.63-percent increase in the number of reported online sexual exploitation of children during the 3-month quarantine period imposed by the government to contain the Covid-19 outbreak from March to May 2020.

“The following recommendations of the DOJ on fighting online sexual exploitation of children were recently approved by the President: direct the NTC to impose sanctions on internet service providers for failure to fulfill their duties under RA 9775; issue an executive order strengthening cooperation among the Inter-Agency Council Against  Trafficking (IACAT), the Inter-Agency Council Against Child Pornography (IACACP), and other relevant agencies,” Guevarra said.

He said the DOJ would be drafting the executive order and would request other relevant agencies to comment.

The impending sanctions came despite telecom operators and ISP operators claim that they have blocked a total of 2,521 child pornographic websites as part of their commitment to help the government curb online child pornography and sexual abuse in the country.

In a position paper submitted to Guevarra last year, members of the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators (PCTO) have also acknowledged their duty under the law to install a program or software that will block access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography in the internet.

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.

PCTO is the umbrella organization of duly enfranchised telecommunication entities and ISPs, including telco giants PLDT Inc. and Ayala-owned Globe Telecom.

The NTC, which is an active member of IACAP established has endorsed to the telcos and ISPs more than 6,000 websites and links for to comply with their duty under the law to install a program or software that will block access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography.

Based on the position paper, PCTO member Globe Telecom said it 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.

PLDT and Smart said they 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.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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