Leading fiber broadband provider, Converge ICT Solutions Inc. joined advocates of child rights protection online on Safer Internet Day (February 8), in an ISP Summit organized to discuss the available technological solutions to combat the online sexual abuse and exploitaiton of children (OSAEC).
Converge Chief Strategy Officer Benjamin Azada put forward the filtering technologies Converge is now using to block all types of illicit content on its network: “We have upgraded our cyber-defense tools, from a DNS filtering solution to an HTTPS URL or Domain filtering system. On the HTTPS URL or Domain filtering, when the user tries to access a blocked site, the request is dropped and the user is redirected to a corresponding warning page on the type of abuse.”
These technology-enabled defense tools are strengthened with resources from Converge’s global child safety partner, the Internet Watch Foundation, who provides a master list of URLs to be blocked on Converge’s network.
According to Department of Social Welare and Development Secretary Rolando Bautista, ISPs are at the forefront of the fight against online sexual abuse of children as the Department of Justice noted an increase of 264% in reports of OSAEC since the pandemic started.
The child protection measures are part of Converge’s core framework for sustainability, added Mr. Azada.
“All of these efforts to protect children from online abuse and exploitation fall under our “Converge Together for Safer Internet” campaign, which is aligned with two of our key sustainability principles – building trust with our customers, and empowering our communities. It is also linked to a material sustainability topic – Customer Health & Safety – that we make disclosures on in our annual Sustainability Report,” he noted.
So far, 20,000 websites have been blocked on Converge’s network, effectively curbing the heavy traffic to these illicit sites that has been averaging 1,200 hits per minute, according to our internal data.
The ISP Summit gathered partners from government, civil society, and the private sector to discuss pressing issues confronting the proliferation of online sexual abuse of children, including how to include smaller ISPs to join the cause of protecting children’s rights.