IACAT lauds NTC, urges TELCOS to join fight against Cybersex

21 March 2014

The Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) lauded the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for its issuance of Memorandum Circular No. 01-01-2014 which established guidelines for implementing Republic Act No. 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act Of 2009.

Section 9 of RA 9775 gives the NTC the authority to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations of the installation of filtering software that will block access to or transmission of any form of the child pornography.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Chairperson of IACAT, believes that the actions of NTC against child pornography can be extended to also include prohibition to internet sites that cater to child sex webcam tourism (CSWT).

De Lima likewise urged the country's telephone companies (TELCOS) to also help fight the proliferation of cybersex websites featuring women and minors in sex shows for a fee, which have already attracted worldwide media attention and identified the country as a major hub of the billion dollars global child cybersex industry.

She added that the two pronged campaign via the TELCOs and the ISPs may yet provide the most significant action that would  minimize, if not totally eradicate, cybersex activities in the country. "Blocking and/or filtering of sites that exploits women and specially children should be included as part of these companies' corporate social responsibility (CSR)," she said.

De Lima said TELCOs and ISPs have a corporate responsibility to respond to the call to combat the growing menace of cybersex or webcam child sex tourism (WCST), as the existence of such would erode the moral fibre of the community to which they also belong.

According to the Circular, the NTC is tasked to furnish the list of identified pornographic websites to the ISPs for immediate blocking of access or filtering. In the same regard, the Circular also protects the ISPs from any liability arising from its compliance with any order of the NTC for the immediate blocking of access or filtering of any such websites.

ISPs will also submit a monthly list of all websites carrying child pornography materials that were blocked. The list will contain all websites carrying child pornography materials that subscribers of respective ISPs attempted to access but were blocked by the installed carrier grade technology, program or software.

"We anticipate that ISPs will submit a laundry list of problems ranging from constitutional liberties to their technical and financial capacity to fulfill the obligations specified in the memorandum and its controlling law," De Lima said. "However, they should realize that the spirit of the law intends to protect children from any forms of abuse."

Mid-eastern countries have somewhat controlled cybersex activities by banning websites containing pornography and sex. Similarly, countries like Australia, the European Union, and Scandanavian countries, have considered mandatory and voluntary filtering at the ISP level.

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