DICT warns telcos, ISPs: Comply with law against online child sexual exploitation

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The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) reiterated on Friday, Feb. 19, the duty of telecommunications companies and Internet service providers (ISPs) to comply with existing laws against online child sexual exploitation.  This is following the rise of cases of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children during the pandemic. 

According to the DICT, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte has issued a directive for the immediate imposition of sanctions on ISPs that allow the use of their platforms for online exploitation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ), in response, has recommended for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to penalize ISPs for failing to fulfill their duties under Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009.

The NTC and DICT are continuously monitoring ISPs compliance with the law, which mandates all ISPs to notify the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation of any form of child pornography committed using its servers or facilities within seven days upon obtaining facts and evidence. ISPs, however, are prohibited to engage from monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer, or the content of any communication of any such person.

All ISPs are also required to install available technology, program or software to ensure that access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.

Meanwhile, NTC recently issued show-cause orders to select ISPs for their non-compliance with the law and required them to provide a written justification why such a breach should not be sanctioned administratively. The ISPs will also be attending mandatory hearings before the NTC.

“The DICT takes the matter of online child sexual exploitation very seriously. We are closely coordinating with the NTC in exploring measures to prevent this and ensure compliance of Telcos and ISPs with the provisions of the law,” DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said.

Furthemore, the DICT has recently launched its Child Online Safeguarding Policy (COSP) aimed at prescribing mechanisms and standards in order to protect and safeguard children and young people online in accordance with the implementation of Republic Act 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.

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