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PNP to telcos: Help authorities track subscribers linked to child pornography

/ 11:01 PM January 17, 2014

The Philippine National Police Anti-Cybercrime Group presented to the press Friday the response letter of Smart Communications Inc. declining the request of PNP ACG to preserve the data of a specific phone number helpful in the police’s investigation on the widespread child pornography in the Philippines. Photo by Julliane Love de Jesus/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines–The Philippine National Police urged Friday telecommunication companies to relax their policies on preserving data relevant to activities on child pornography.

Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group chief, presented in a press briefing the response letter of Smart

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Communications Inc. to the request of PNP ACG to “preserve subscriber information, call and text data for the period of March 27 until May 27, 2013” of a specific phone number.

But taking into consideration the protocols, mobile phone companies are obliged to keep confidential their customers’ data and information since Congress has not signed proposed legislation requiring all mobile phone users to register their prepaid Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards.

In the response letter of Smart to PNP ACG dated May 17, 2013, it said: “We note that the said number is a prepaid number. As such, there is no subscriber information on record because prepaid subscribers are not required to register their personal information with us.

“The system only stores outgoing call data for the past four months and outgoing SMS data for the past two months. Finally, Smart
Communications Inc. (SMART) is obliged to keep confidential customer data and information.

“However, we shall preserve the requested data, provided it covers the period of storage, and make it available upon
receipt of any unlawful order from a court of competent jurisdiction on this matter.”

Sosa lamented that the PNP ACG needed the “social commitment” of telecommunication companies since these “contribute a huge part in their investigation.”

“We are doing our job here but because of the limitations in telcos, our responsibilities are being compromised. However, there is no legal basis for them to comply with our request,” he lamented.

Thus, Sosa also appealed to Congress to approve the bills seeking prepaid SIM card registration to prevent offenders from using these cards in committing heinous crimes.

“We ask the Congress to pass the law about the registration of prepaid SIM cards, prepaid broadbands and wireless devices,” he said.

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With the influx of cellular phones and smartphones, lawless elements have taken advantage of prepaid SIM card use as telecommunication companies cannot establish the identity of their customers unlike postpaid SIM cards.

‘Serious problem’

When asked to describe the gravity of child pornography in the Philippines, Sosa said: “This is a serious problem that we to stop.”

Earlier, the ACG chief announced that Philippines was among the top 10

countries producing “child abuse materials,” including pornographic videos, photos and online materials of children performing sexual acts.

The said police body has created a special task force eradicating child pornography dens in the country with Metro Manila, Angeles in Pampanga, Cebu and Cagayan de Oro as the hot spots.

“Kelangan nating magtulong-tulong dito [We need to help each other]. Fighting this problem is a shared responsibility,” he said.

TOPICS: Anti-Cybercrime Group, Child Abuse, Child Pornography, Mobile devices, mobile phones, National Crime Agency, Philippine National Police, PNP ACG, porn, sexual abuse, Telecommunication company
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