PLDT, Smart beef up fight vs online child abuse

·3 min read

As the world celebrates Safer Internet Day on Feb. 9, 2021, telecommunication company PLDT and its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc., expand their efforts to fight online sexual abuse and exploitation of children (OSAEC).

The two companies have invested close to P2 billion in 2021 to run their advanced cybersecurity operations center.


• The center is where PLDT and Smart predict, prevent, detect, and respond to all types of cyber threats, according to Angel Redoble, FVP and Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT, Smart and ePLDT.

• It is where they will also identify phishing and scamming activities, including notifying their enterprise subscribers of attacks and high-risk activities inside their network.

• The multibillion-peso investment has enabled the two companies to block 3,020 domains that host illicit materials featuring children, as mandated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

• When customers try to open any offensive content, they will be brought to a landing page telling them that the material violates the country’s anti-child porn laws.

• When a particular IP address sees a sudden spike in bandwidth use, PLDT and Smart can notify law enforcement agencies so they can investigate further as this could be related to OSAEC. Live streaming often sees a sudden rush of data traffic, according to Francisco Ashley Acedillo, Smart AVP and Chief Strategy Officer of the Cybersecurity Operations Group.

IWF membership

The Internet Watch Foundation is a UK-based international non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating online child abuse content.

Once PLDT and Smart’s membership with the organization is completed, possibly in March, both companies will be able to gain access to an extensive database of web pages hosting these objectionable materials.

“Whole-of-nation” approach

• PLDT and Smart admit they need to do more in curtailing abuse against children over the internet, such as requiring the help of lawmakers in resolving conflicting laws on child pornography and data privacy that hamper efforts to curb OSAEC.

• They said that agencies concerned with children’s welfare also need to get involved to break the cycle and victims will not end up back in the same oppressive industry they came from.

• Parents are also urged to join the fight against OSAEC and thwart the advances of online predators.


PLDT and Smart have so far done the following:

• participated in discussions to strengthen the country’s Cybercrime Prevention Law

• invited lawmakers and regulators into their cybersecurity operations center to gain a deeper understanding of how the two firms fight online threats

• engaged international and local stakeholders in the fight against criminal activities related to cybersecurity

• continued collaboration with various children’s rights champions and like-minded institutions, such as the United Nations Children’s Fund, Kids for Kids, SaferKids PH, and the International Justice Mission

• developed home-grown programs, including CyberSmart, Better Today, and Infoteach, which educate netizens to be responsible digital citizens online and in real life.

• planning to expand their support to community-based programs that are geared towards eliminating OSAEC in the country (SunStar Cebu/With PR)