Are Philippines ISPs Enabling Child Sexual Abuse Online?

Updated: Oct 26

by Father Shay Cullen


The handing down of a life sentence to American David Timothy Deakin, 53, by Pampanga-based Judge Irineo Pangilinan Jr. of the Regional Trial Court in Angeles City earlier this year is just an indication of the seriousness of the live-streaming and trafficking of children for child abuse.

Deakin is just one of thousands of child abusers in the Philippines live-streaming child abuse shows over the internet. Most of them are Filipino abusers, parents and relatives, pimps and traffickers earning money sent by courier by foreign pedophiles. They use the video camera on a cell phone connected to the internet.

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to intercept the live-streaming images sent out by Deakin and many more abusers sent through the Internet Service Providers like PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecoms. International law enforcement agencies and child protection non-government organizations are sending to Philippine law enforcement officials a stream of information about the child abuse videos and pictures they intercept and detect on the internet. There are so many it overwhelms the Philippine police.

Allegedly, the telecommunication corporations allow the images and videos to pass unhindered through their servers enabling the sexual abuse of children online. If so, they have a lot to answer for but they are not being challenged or questioned enough as to why they do not obey the Anti-Child Pornography Law of 2009 otherwise known as Republic Act 9775 and install the effective, state-of-the art software to block the child abuse and pornography such as PhotoDNA and VideoDNA artificial intelligence-driven software that detects child pornography and live-streaming. Here is my reply to a PLDT/Smart e-mail saying that they are trying to comply with the law.

“Thank you for your letter and I understand the need for the public relations response to my latest challenge with the article “International Day of the Girl” for the telecommunication corporations to stop, block and filter child pornography and online sexual abuse of children passing through the PLDT /Smart servers. This also applies to Globe Telecom.

It is clear from this evidence as reported by international law enforcement agencies and NGOs that there are no efficient software solutions installed by PLDT/Smart (and Globe) on their servers. Otherwise there would be a big drop in reported cases.

We at the Preda Foundation (www.preda.org) have many child victims in care and recovery referred by government social workers, NGOs and police. The children are healed and empowered and fight for justice and together with Preda, they win convictions. In 2019, 20 child rapists were given life sentences. In 2020, 10 children won convictions so far. Every conviction is a big victory.

Not only have some been abused online, but their rapists have likely viewed child porn. Some Filipino child abusers are only 10 and 12 years old and the victims five and six years old. The latest in Subic town was a gang rape by three boys 10 and 12 years old who likely viewed child pornography online and the victim was only six years old.

If the PLDT/Smart and Globe are truly concerned, they will act and spend for the high-tech, effective software available and save and protect children instead of making excuses and paying small fines for non-compliance allegedly in collusion with some officials in the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The public relations excuses by the telecommunication corporations have all been said before and the old claim of blocking 2,900 sites is ridiculous. Is that daily or weekly? That same number has been used months ago and if PLDT/Smart is really blocking child porn and stopping the live streaming of child sexual abuse daily, it should be at least 10,000 or 20,000 sites intercepted and blocked in the last six months

But the PLDT/Smart number stays the same. It seems fake. The technicians never seem to find any more such sites and say they depend on the Department of Justice to find such sites when in fact the law says the corporation’s ISPs must install the software to actively intercept and block them.

We are also campaigning worldwide for PLDT/Smart and Globe and other corporations to get the latest most effective Artificial Intelligence-driven software like PhotoDNA and VideoDNA and similar high-tech solutions. This software is state-of-art and automatically detects child porn and automatically blocks it without anybody prying into any personal communications of any person which PLDT/Smart claim is a conflict in the law and a reason PLDT/Smart does not have filters to block child pornography and live streaming of child abuse.

Such a claim is null and void, devoid of reason as the software does not look at anything but the pornography. PLDT/Smart must do this under the law RA 9775 since 2009 and seem to claim they are above this law. They are allegedly enablers of the child abuse online. Millions of images of child rape and abuse have since passed through the PLDT/Smart and Globe ISPs servers in this country. By dereliction of duty and by association in crimes, they can be held liable. This country is a hot spot for child abuse and has become a fairyland paradise for paedophiles.”

When the telecommunication media moguls are compelled by public opinion and a responsible, child-friendly government to obey the law, they should announce what software they have installed. They must name the official who is responsible for it and they must be transparent to the national and international law enforcement agencies and experts of the international community protecting children. It is they that are monitoring the internet for child pornography and can see and verify that such state-of-the -art software really is installed and acknowledge that it is working. Anything less is just talk, empty statements, fake claims of compliance while using totally redundant and obsolete software that cannot effectively block the flood of child pornography.

Globe Telecom has also a serious obligation to install the software and protect children. Apparently, they have not done so sufficiently or else there would not be so many children being abused online. We all have the obligation to report any suspected abuse. We need to be alert of children that are distressed and come to their aid.

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