PLDT and Smart amplify efforts to combat online child exploitation

The companies leverage cutting-edge technology to detect and block CSAEM at the domain and content level.

PLDT and Smart Communications pledged to ramp up their efforts to shield Filipino children online, following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s recent call to action against online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

Since June 2021, PLDT and Smart blocked over 1 million URLs and online content associated with OSAEC. Additionally, they have thwarted more than 5.6 million attempts by end-users to access child abuse sites since November 2021.

The companies leverage cutting-edge technology to detect and block CSAEM at the domain and content level while adhering to data privacy regulations. They actively collaborate with international organizations like the UK’s Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Canada’s Centre for Children Protection for its Project Arachnid to gather up-to-date intelligence on CSAEM. Furthermore, they’re in talks with the IWF to develop new strategies and stay abreast of emerging OSAEC trends, such as the rise of self-generated CSAEM and the increased use of Artificial Intelligence to exploit children online.

PLDT and Smart recognize that combating OSAEC requires a multi-pronged approach. They actively share their expertise and best practices to assist the government in crafting policies and bolstering capabilities to combat OSAEC. Notably, they collaborated with Congress and the Department of Justice in formulating the landmark Republic Act 11930, the Anti-OSAEC and Anti-CSAEM Law.

To tackle OSAEC at the grassroots level, PLDT and Smart are supporting the technology and capacity-building initiatives of the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children units in Cagayan de Oro, Iligan, Quezon City, and Angeles City, Pampanga. This is part of a multi-year program with the youth organization Kids for Kids PH and the SaferKidsPH consortium of UNICEF, Save the Children, and the Asia Foundation.

PLDT and Smart have also endorsed the Scale of Harm study by the International Justice Mission and the University of Nottingham Rights Lab. The study aimed to estimate the prevalence of OSAEC in the Philippines and found that nearly 500,000 Filipino children were trafficked to produce new CSAEM in 2022 alone.

Furthermore, the companies have enabled technology for the Makabata Helpline 1383 of the Council for the Welfare of Children. This helpline provides the public with a means to report cases of child rights abuses and violations, including OSAEC.

In 2018, PLDT and Smart publicly committed to prioritizing children by integrating children’s rights into their operations. Since then, they have developed a Child Safeguarding Policy to institutionalize child safety provisions in their human resources, product development, marketing, technology, and stakeholder engagements, among others. is one of the most active tech sites in the Philippines. We enjoy sharing interesting and relevant stories about the latest trends in technology, developments in mobile phones and social media, and modern digital and geek culture.

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