PLDT and its wireless unit, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), are urging lawmakers to amend ‘conflicting provisions’ of RA 9775 or the Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009 to boost efforts in curtailing online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

PHOTO 1 3 1024x684 - Efforts to Curtail Online Sexual Abuse and Child Porn

“We want to do more in protecting children on the internet. But some provisions in the Anti-Child Pornography Law are holding us back because they encroach on the rights of citizens and contradict existing laws particularly RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of

2012 and RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Law,” explained Smart Vice President for Legal and Regulatory Affairs Atty. Roy Cecil Ibay. He also concurrently serves as the Vice President of the Philippine Chamber of Telecom Operators (PCTO).

PHOTO 2 3 1024x720 - Efforts to Curtail Online Sexual Abuse and Child Porn

Section 9 of the law mandates internet service providers to actively monitor and block any material that promotes child pornography passing through their servers. It also orders them to install software that will filter out these illicit content.

But PLDT and Smart, together with other members of the PCTO, pointed out in a position paper submitted to the Department of Justice that this contradicts another sentence in the same section declaring that “Nothing in this section may be construed to require an ISP to engage in the monitoring of any user, subscriber or customer or the content of any communication of any such person.”

The Philippines’ largest and only integrated telecommunications company also noted that traffic data or information about the message’s origin, destination, route and size among other things are considered property, thus they should be protected against unreasonable searches and seizures under the Bill of Rights. Likewise, the constitution also guarantees privacy of communication.

The PLDT group has found a compelling argument in the 2014 Disini vs. Secretary of Justice case where the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional Section 19 of the Anti-Cybercrime Law that says “when a computer data is prima facie found to be in violation of the provisions of this Act, the DOJ shall issue an order to restrict or block access to such computer data” because it gives the department virtual power to search and seize private data without the requisite judicial warrant.

In their position paper, PLDT and Smart argued that if the Secretary of Justice, who is supposed to be the bastion of legal knowledge and despite prima facie finding, cannot order the blocking of the offending computer data without a judicial warrant, how much more private entities such as ISPs, including the PLDT group.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *