DICT seeks further consultations on online protection of children

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By Joel D. Pinaroc

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be initiating consultations between the agency and various technology providers on how to better protect children from online abuse.

Photo credit: ITU.int

The DICT has invited mobile operators, Internet service providers (ISPs), content providers, online retailers, social media service providers, and app developers to join in the consultations to be held on Monday, June 24, at the DICT main office in Quezon City.

The agency said it will release a memorandum circular on child online protection and will be seeking inputs from technology providers.

The DICT said the memorandum circular will be issued “to prescribe government policy on ensuring the protection of children online by establishing a common reference and guidance to the ICT and online industries and relevant stakeholders.”

One of the provisions of the memo calls for techonology providers to “ensure that there is a responsible officer who will serve as point of contact for child online protection in compliance with Republic Act 9775.”

These providers are also asked to collaborate with government, law enforcement, civil society and hotline organizations to effectively handle child sexual abuse material and report cases to the DICT Cyber Security Bureau, Philippine National Police- Anti-Cybercrime Group or the National Bureau of Investigation-Cyber Crime Division.

The Philippines already has an existing law against online child abuse. Republic Act 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pronography Act” was ratified in 2009.

A UNICEF report earlier said the online abuse remains the “leading cybercrime in the Philippines.” The report said new technologies, such as live streaming, “are putting more Filipino children at risk of sexual abuse.

The UNICEF further said “Filipino children have a massive presence online,” and “one in three Internet users in the Philippines is a child.”

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