Liberty, ICE reinforce partnership on cybersecurity awareness during pandemic
Liberty Puerto Rico is reinforcing its partnership with the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Child Exploitation Investigative Unit to raise awareness of the need for cybersecurity education during the COVID-19 pandemic due to higher risks of solicitation and cyberbullying through social media.
To achieve this goal, Liberty Puerto Rico will continue to feature a series of videos it produced in partnership with ICE’s Child Exploitation Investigative Unit.
The videos delve into the risks of cyberbullying and exploitation, which children and preteens are exposed to when navigating the internet without supervision, and how they can protect themselves.
ICE Special Agents Alek Pacheco and Reynaldo Medina discuss this subject in the videos, providing valuable information and tips for children and preteens ages 6 to 12.
“We identified the need to increase the discussion about cyber security for children given that so many of them are studying online because of the quarantine and are therefore more exposed to online predators than ever before,” said Giovanna Ramírez de Arellano, communications and corporate responsibility director at Liberty Puerto Rico.
“Through our partnership with ICE, we want to spark a conversation on this important issue and offer valuable resources so children, youths and adults can protect themselves from possible predators lurking on the internet.”
According to Ivan J. Arvelo, special agent in charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Puerto Rico and USVI, along with increased internet use since the COVID-19 quarantine began in March, and a rising number of students and adults working online, the agency has received a growing number of referrals from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Referrals from the nonprofit, which handles cases of missing and exploited children and youths up to age 20, surged 48 percent in March, jumped 127% in April and increased 23% in May. This trend has continued during this fiscal year’s last two quarters.
The special agent added that during the 2019 fiscal year, ICE opened 4,474 cases in the United States, including Puerto Rico, resulting in 3,957 arrests and the identification and rescue of 1,069 victims.