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PLDT, Smart blocked 250k attempts of online child abuse materials in July

August 19, 2022 - Friday 4:08 PM by Catherine Cueto

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PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) said on Friday that they were able to prevent access to almost 250,000 links known to contain child abuse materials (CSAM) online.

The company said there would be a decrease in blocked attempts to access these materials in the second quarter of 2022. 

As of July, PLDT and Smart added more than 374,000 uniform resource locators (URLs) linked to online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC) to their blacklist.  

“Through our relentless efforts and close collaboration with our partners, we have blocked more than 1.3 billion attempts to open web addresses that host OSAEC-related materials since we launched our child protection platform last year. We continue to work with government agencies and like-minded organizations, both here and abroad, in providing a safer internet for children,” Angel Redoble, First Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart, said. 

Among the said “keys” to the PLDT Group’s war against OSAEC is its pioneering child protection platform that allows the telco group to block on the more challenging content level.

Powered by Palo Alto Networks’ technology, the automated process runs user searches against the Group’s vault of known URLs hosting child abuse content. 

PLDT and Smart’s alliance with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Project Arachnid of the Canadian Center for Child Protection (C3P) has expanded the blacklist, which is also aided by open-source and commercial threats intelligence gathering, and links shared by law enforcement agencies. 

Once there’s a hit, customers are taken to a landing page warning them that the web address they are trying to open violates Philippine laws on child exploitation materials. Echoing peers in the industry, PLDT and Smart have also thrown their support behind the Anti-OSAEC bill, which has recently lapsed into law. 

“PLDT and Smart laud the government for passing the Anti-OSAEC law. This welcome development further strengthens our efforts to detect and take down explicit child content on the internet,” Redoble added. 

Keeping children safe online underscores PLDT and Smart’s commitment to UNSDG #16, which promotes peaceful and inclusive societies, including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children. 

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