A group of telecommunications companies and Internet service providers (ISP) vowed to continuously block pornographic websites but also pointed out that the law limits them in solving the problem of online child exploitation.

As the Senate pushes telcos and ISPs to block pornographic websites, the Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators (PCTO) bared that the law prevents them from installing technology that will block or filter exploitative content online.

Section 9 of the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 9775) does not allow telcos and ISPs to monitor users or their devices, while the Data Privacy Act of 2012 imposes strict privacy responsibilities on entities collecting or processing personal information.

PCTO had called out the Department of Justice (DOJ) to re-examine the laws and fix the legal concerns. So far, the DOJ has already set meetings with telcos and ISPs to discuss the matter further and is currently meeting with IT companies to determine the “most appropriate” blocking and filtering technology.

Online child abuse cases ballooned since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DOJ reported a 264.63% increase or over 270,000 cases of online child exploitation from March to May this year, a far cry high from the 76,561 cases that were reported during the same period last year.

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