Are Internet Service Providers enabling online sexual exploitation of children?

A depiction of a teenager looking over her Facebook page. The Internet facilitates sexual exploitation of children. File photo: CNS/Reuters
A depiction of a teenager looking over her Facebook page. The Internet facilitates sexual exploitation of children. File photo: CNS/Reuters

Internet Server Providers (ISP’s) such as PLDT and Globe in the Philippines, and thousands around the world, must be challenged and held accountable for allegedly failing to effectively block, with the latest AI (artificial intelligence) powered software, the transmission of child pornography and the heinous crime of online sexual exploitation of children live-streamed to paying pedophiles around the world. Child abuse and pornography is an international crime and needs a local and international response. Globe is planning to expand into Europe, but we will campaign against it if there is no change.

The Philippines has been named as the world hotspot for child pornography and on-line sexual exploitation of children. Only a few weeks ago 13 children more were rescued from cyber-crime dens in Biliran, where an American priest, Kenneth Pius Hendricks and others sexually abused children for decades.

The ISP’s must be held accountable for failing to obey and fully respect the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, otherwise known as Republic Act 9775, by installing up-to-date effective blocking software in their servers. This is the only effective answer to the rampant widespread child pornography “pandemic” sweeping the Philippines and the world.  

Globe informed me that after 11 years of failing to comply with the law, they installed, in 2017, DNS (domain name server) software to block websites that they know or contain child porn and said they depend on the Department of Justice to inform them of such websites. 

Globe tells me new child porn websites quickly replace the old. That’s because they have outdated, ineffective, cheap DNS software. What they should have—and they know it—is real time; Artificial Intelligence (AI) based software. This continually crawls the Internet for signals and sites promoting child porn and live-streaming. It detects instantly and continues to update in real time through machine learning using Artificial Intelligence. No human employees needed, it is strong and lives forever once installed as a hi-tech expert from the Zyalin Software Company informed me, since they design such effective software.

This is most likely a category based, very simple and cheap software. It is most likely to be very ineffective since there are daily streams of child porn passing through Globe servers and those of PLDT. The illegal and horrific images of little children being sexually abused live on the Internet can reah the computers, tablets, and smartphones of Filipinos and pedophiles abroad as detected by international law enforcement.

Globe tells me new child porn websites quickly replace the old. That’s because they have outdated, ineffective, cheap DNS software. What they should have—and they know it—is real time; Artificial Intelligence (AI) based software. This continually crawls the Internet for signals and sites promoting child porn and live-streaming. It detects instantly and continues to update in real time through machine learning using Artificial Intelligence. No human employees needed, it is strong and lives forever once installed as a hi-tech expert from the Zyalin Software Company informed me, since they design such effective software.

PLDT and Smart inform me that to meet requirements under the RA 9775, 2009 law—where they are required to install software to block child pornography—they are proposing a solution for the government to act on, not them. 

“We have been suggesting that the government consider the use of a technology solution developed by Microsoft for this purpose,” they said. 

They also claimed: “At this point, it is not possible for ISPs to selectively block bad content being live-streamed via global Internet platforms. If Philippine ISPs attempt to do this, the entire global Internet platform will be blocked.” This is totally wrong as companies with powerful AI blocking software can do it.

PLDT, Smart and Globe can stop the horrible sex crimes against children and prevent them from happening. They must obey the law and install the latest effective blocking filters. But why do they not have the latest most effective child porn blocking software? Because it will slow down their networks, that’s why; because customers will have to wait a few seconds longer to connect and might switch to a rival ISP.  

It is really about greed and money, not about children being raped and abused. Perhaps, they have some sweetheart deal with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to ignore the law and pay a small fine for not complying.

If the president, Rodrigo Duterte, is a strong-minded, iron-fisted champion of law and order, and child protection, he will act bravely and decisively order the ISP’s like PLDT, Smart and Globe to obey RA 9775 the Anti-Child Pornography Law of 2009 to save the nation. I believe that he is already planning to do this.

Republic Act 9557, under Section 9, says: “The duties of Internet Server Providers (ISP) to monitor the content passing through their servers notify the police of illegal content and provide the authorities the particulars of users who gained or attempted to gain access to an Internet address which contains any form of child pornography. All ISP’s shall install available technology, program or software to ensure access to or transmittal of any form of child pornography will be blocked or filtered.”

As you read this, thousands of young Filipinos are exposed to viewing, damaging, disturbing and psychologically hurtful content passed through the ISP servers on the Internet. These are illegal graphic images on home-made videos of young children- girls and boys- being raped and sexually abused. 

The Cyber-crime Prevention Act of 2012 otherwise known as Republic Act 10175 also bans cybersex and child pornography, among other things. Duterte can increase his huge popularity, now at 72 per cent, if he recommends a swift amendment to the law that will increase the penalty for non-compliance to 10 million pesos a day until the ISPs fully comply with the law and install the most effective efficient child porn AI based blocking software. 

The fines paid can be allocated to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to help child victims. The law can back-fine the ISP’s for violating the law for 11 years, at a million a day.

As you read this, thousands of young Filipinos are exposed to viewing, damaging, disturbing and psychologically hurtful content passed through the ISP servers on the Internet. These are illegal graphic images on home-made videos of young children- girls and boys- being raped and sexually abused. 

Your child could be viewing these terrible videos and pictures without your knowledge. You can be sure they won’t tell you and you will never know, but might notice disturbing changes in their personality and character.

You might think it is due to drugs but now think: child pornography. Their teenage peers download them and share them through the Internet enabled by the ISP’s. Some teenagers also make child pornography videos of their own sexual abuse of young girls and boys, and share them with classmates or gang-mates or upload them on YouTube. 

They extort sexual favours and money from underage victims by threatening to post the videos. A young uncle of two small children abused them and uploaded the abuse on YouTube, possibly through Globe or PLDT or a subsidiary. 

He is now charged with child abuse and cybersex abuse of children. Hundreds of children are sexually abused daily and The ISP’s go free, for now.

This online sexual exploitation of children through the ISPs must change. PLDT, Smart and Globe must obey the RA 9775 law. Every day, more children are sexually abused and damaged and it could be your child. It is time to act and hold the ISPs accountable for eleven years of disobeying the law and allowing thousands of acts of abuse over their servers.         

Father Shay Cullen

Father Shay Cullen
www.preda.org

Related articles
Child abuse over the Internet

They are the two latest arrivals at the Preda Foundation’s beautiful home for exploited children set in the countryside and Read more

Bishops warn against online sex predators

MANILA (UCAN): The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) joined efforts against online child sexual abuse by warning families Read more

Human trafficking the most evil enslavement

Human trafficking for sexual exploitation is the most insidious and evil form of enslavement. That is because it is so Read more

Commission set up in São Paolo to investigate abuse complaints

SAO PAULO (CNS): The Archdiocese of Sao Paulo announced the creation of a commission to investigate allegations of sexual abuse Read more