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Bill seeks to require public establishments to control kid’s access to ‘harmful’ materials online

PHILSTAR

A BILL was filed at the House of Representatives seeking to require all public establishments to limit children’s access to the internet to protect them from any harmful materials.

Paranaque City Rep. Joy Myra R. Salvador-Tambunting filed House Bill 10486 or the proposed Online Child Safety Act that seeks to restrict access to sexual or dangerous content in public areas through filtering software.

“The importance of cybersecurity for commercial websites and public institutions is a way to protect the youth from cybercriminals or from sharing messages, personal information, or photos that may threaten their security,” she said in the bill’s explanatory note.

Ms. Tambuting added that without controls in place, children could be left vulnerable to online predators and scammers through chat boxes that could lead them to links or attachments with malware or adult materials.

The bill would create an Online Child Safety Council that would be chaired by the secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, with representatives from other relevant government agencies.

The council would be mandated to review the implementation of the proposed law, determine appropriate internet filtering software, and conduct regular on-site inspections, among others.

It will also prohibit the commercial operation of websites with materials harmful to children except if there is a content description tag assigned by the Department of Information and Communication Technology in its source code, an age verification requirement, or if the home page does not include such materials. — Russell Louis C. Ku

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