PLDT and its wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. say they are testing a cooperative cybersecurity project called the Global Chain of Trust (GCOT), which aims to provide members and their stakeholders a ‘clean’ digital environment and block from the network domains that store and publish child abuse material.
“Tests have shown that we can alienate from the network websites that store, publish and stream child sexual exploitation materials or CSEM. Because the project is scalable, the more countries we bring into GCOT, the safer it will be for internet users,” said Angel Redoble, the chief information security officer of the PLDT Group.
The GCOT promises a cleaner, safer, and more resilient digital ecosystem. It pools peers and industry stakeholders in a closed loop that allows them to create and share a whitelist of legitimate domains, and consequently, blacklist those that contain content that are harmful to children.
“GCOT members enroll locally verified and trusted domains that will be accessible to fellow members. Currently, ISPs blindly ingest domain registries including those with malicious files,” explained Redoble.
PLDT and Smart have been developing more innovative and collaborative approaches to the problem of online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC). These approaches support the recommendations of the ‘Scale of Harm’ study by the International Justice Mission and the University of Nottingham Rights Lab that reported nearly half a million Filipino children sexually exploited in new abuse images and videos in the country last year alone.
In support of the Republic Act 11930 or the Anti-OSAEC Law, the PLDT Group continues to block access to CSEM through its pioneering Child Protection Platform. The Group has so far prevented more than a billion attempts to open CSEM and blacklisted more than 750,000 illicit child content in 2022.
Enabling community-based reporting, the Group, through its B2B arm PLDT Enterprise, has also helped the Council for the Welfare of Children set up the MAKABATA 1383 Helpline for the reporting of child abuse and child rights violations. PLDT and Smart have also collaborated with the local government units of Angeles City in Pampanga, General Santos City, Cagayan de Oro City, and Iligan City on efforts to develop local ordinances and expand grassroots programs on anti-OSAEC measures.
The initiatives to keep children safe online underscore PLDT and Smart’s commitment to SDG 16 on promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies including the end to abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children and SDG 9 on Industries, Innovation and Infrastructure.
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