In a bid to combat the proliferation of child sexual abuse and exploitation materials (CSAEM) online, PLDT and Smart on Friday urged internet service providers and other stakeholders to band together and form a ‘Global Chain of Trust’ (GCT) to create a clean cyberspace for all users.
Chief Information Security Officer Angel Redoble said at a roundtable discussion organized by WeProtect Global Alliance with international stakeholders, that there should be a more sustainable process to combat online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).
“It’s a cat-and-mouse game. We do our best to block URLs containing these illicit materials. But the perpetrators move from one domain or service provider to another. If we isolate a digital environment that prevents this kind of content from being accessed, then we’ll make it harder for criminals to share child abuse files online,” Redoble said.
Redoble said that he conceptualized the GCT that is aimed to create a cleaner, safer, and more resilient digital ecosystem.
He explained that the platform allows members to share and enroll locally verified and trusted domains among each other, “Currently, internet service providers blindly ingest domain registries including those with malicious files. With the GCT, we are whitelisting domain registries to ensure that our customers only access websites that are free of illicit content.”
Redoble also pushed for close collaboration with law enforcement agencies – both local and international – to identify the perpetrators and prosecute them.
A study by UNICEF Philippines bared that production of CSAEM in the country proliferate in poverty-ridden communities where the victim’s relatives are often the facilitators and foreigners as consumers or patrons of these illicit materials.
The call for a deeper global cooperation among stakeholders comes at a time when telcos and governments are battling hacking incidents, scams, distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, as well as the spread of online child abuse materials.
PLDT and Smart’s collaborative approach against cyberattacks and OSAEC has enabled the Group to prevent more than 1.5 billion attempts to open malicious domains including CSAEM in January.
The initiatives to keep children safe online underscore PLDT and Smart’s commitment to SDG 16 on promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
Catherine R. Cueto