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Nearly 1.3-M tipline reports flagging OSAEC content received by DOJ in 2020

/ 10:11 PM March 02, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) cybercrime office received almost 1.3-million tipline reports in 2020 of online sexual abuse and child exploitation (OSAEC) content, an official told the senators at the hearing.

During Wednesday’s hearing of bills seeking greater protection for children from sexual abuse and exploitation online, Atty. Angiereen Medina, officer-in-charge of the DOJ’s Office of Cybercrime, noted the rise in cyber tipline reports received in 2020 compared to 2019.

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“In 2019, we received around 426,000 reports. Come 2020, and this is during the Covid pandemic, our office received approximately 1,297,000 cyber tipline reports,” she said.

These reports, according to the official, are those submitted by electronic service providers (ESPs), such as Facebook and other online platforms, whenever they monitor the distribution of OSAEC materials.

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The ESPs submit these reports through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), according to Medina.

The NCMEC is a non-profit organization authorized by U.S. laws “to receive reports of possible child sexual abuse and exploitation materials from electronic communication service providers,” she explained.

The DOJ’s cybercrime office is the “point of contact” of the NCMEC, she noted.

According to Medina, ESPs directly submit reports to the NCMEC whenever their system is used for the transfer and distribution of OSAEC materials.

“They (ESPs) do not report to law enforcement authorities here in the Philippines. We are notified whenever si NCMEC, nakakakuha siya ng reports from service providers at based on the IP address nakikita niya na itong communication na to mapipin-point sa isang IP address na allocated sa Philippines,” she added.

“So the 1.297,00 reports na natanggap ng Office of Cybercrime for 2020, it means either the sender or the receiver of the OSAEC material is here in the Philippines based on its IP address,” she explained.

73 ‘priority’ reports

While there were nearly 1.3 million tipline reports on OSAEC materials in 2020, Medina said only 73 were considered a “priority” after evaluation by the NCMEC.

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“These reports are evaluated. But after evaluation, si NCMEC, ang nakita niya lang there are 73 cyber tipline reports, out of that 1.3 million reports, that are priorities,” she said.

A priority report means it “indicates a current or imminent risk to children,” she noted. “There is indicated possible risk to an individual in the near future.”

She said the “most common” tipline reports involve possession, manufacturing, and distribution of child pornography, “online enticement” of children for sexual acts, child sex trafficking as well as “sex tourism” involving children.

The DOJ’s cybercrime office conducts an initial investigation on “priority” tipline reports and refers them to law enforcement authorities, according to Medina.

Whenever a “traveling sex offender” is involved in a case, the cybercrime office asks the Bureau of Immigration to blacklist the foreigner in question.

“Kadamihan ng mga cyber tipline reports would involve a conversation between a foreigner and that of a child. They would say ‘Punta ako diyan sa Philippines, mag-meet tayo and let’s do this, let’s do that.’ So to prevent these, what we would do is ipa-blacklist sa immigration,” she said.

“We also coordinate with the (Department of Social Welfare and Development),” she added.

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TAGS: Cybercrime, DoJ, Exploitation, Nation, News, online sexual abuse, OSAEC, Senate
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