State lab joins war vs cybercrimes

The government recently opened a state-of-the-art Digital Forensics Platform and Laboratory (DFPAL) in Quezon City to fight cybercrimes, particularly, Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children (OSAEC).

“Children became more vulnerable to cyberattacks after the pandemic forced them to stay at home and get online to study and connect with friends, and cyber criminals have also been targeting them,” according to Angel Redoble, Chief Information Security Officer of PLDT and Smart Communications Inc.

The Cybercrime Investigation and Coordinating Center (CICC) of both telcos lauded the government initiative.

The DFPAL will enable CICC to monitor and coordinate with other law enforcement agencies in conducting thorough digital and forensic investigations to identify apprehend and convict entities associated with OSAEC.

“We have fortified our cyber defenses and strengthened our coordination with the government to make the internet safer for kids,” Redoble confirmed.

So far, PLDT and Smart’s Child Protection Platform has blocked almost 300,000 URLs tied to OSAEC by the end of May.

The Child Protection Platform has also prevented more than a billion attempts to access these illegal sites from November last year to May this year.

It was built on the telcos’ alliance with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Project Arachnid of the Canadian Center for Child Protection (C3P).

PLDT and Smart also joined peers and other stakeholders from the private and government sectors in calling for President Rodrigo Duterte to sign into law the Anti-OSAEC Act before his term ends on June 30, 2022.

Ratified by the House of Representatives and the Senate in May, the proposed law will institutionalize the taking down of websites that stream or host materials showing abuse of minors, as well as impose stiffer penalties against parties involved in child abuse cases.

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