PLDT and Smart Communications are calling for stronger collaboration among stakeholders to fight online child sexual abuse and exploitation as criminals use artificial intelligence to create and share disturbing images.
The Group said in a statement Wednesday that they are urging fellow advocates for child rights and safety to adapt to the rapidly changing environment and come up with effective anti-OSAEC programs.
The statement came after Angel Redoble, chief information security officer of PLDT and Smart, warned about the emerging threat of AI-generated child sexual abuse and exploitation materials (CSAEM) at a recent summit convened by the InterAgency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) led by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Redoble cited a report by the UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which confirmed the sighting of AI-generated CSAEM on the internet. The IWF said that some of the images are so realistic that they would be hard to distinguish from real ones by most people.
“This development not only poses a challenge to the technology side of counteracting OSAEC, but it also tests the limits of our laws in addressing the menace,” Redoble said.
PLDT and Smart are members of the IWF, which provides them with “hashes” or digital fingerprints of CSAEM that they block in real-time through their Child Protection Platform. The platform blocks more than 660,000 links that host CSAEM from the PLDT and Smart network, preventing customers from accessing them.
In the first half of the year, PLDT and Smart’s Cyber Security Operations Group (CSOG) blocked more than a million attempts to open sites that host CSAEM.
PLDT and Smart said that their initiatives to protect children online are part of their commitment to ensuring product safety and cyber security for their customers and end-users. They also said that their efforts contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 16, which aims to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children.