(No.125) Innovative application of ICTs to facilitate child protection online

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Status: 
Accepted
Workshop Theme: 
Security, Openness and Privacy
Theme Question: 

Ensuring security and protection of the online users (Security , openness and Privacy)

Concise Description of Workshop: 

Protection of children and young people from exploitation has been already established as a key issue that needs to be adddressed at this forum and various workshops and discussions have taken place in the last 6 IGF sessions. Current studies and work of International agencies reveal that there must be continued efforts and mobilisation of various sectors involved within the Internet development and policy making to ensure such efforts continue to refine and be effective for the safeguarding of the rights of children. The work carried out to date involves legislative reforms, industry best practices, development of technical tools and sharing best practices and lessons learnt. Various partnerships have started and initiatives focussing on awareness raising, capacity building, training of various target groups including children and young people have already taken place. The session will bring leading experts from Industry, law enforcement and civil society to explore how the following objectives can be achieved: 1) Create an interface between the users and the providers (children and IT companies/ Social media providers in this case) and highlight the new challenges and vulnerabilities that are being experienced by them and useful recommendations that they can offer, coming out of the services they are using. This would also entail looking at the discrepancies and differences in practices of how these services are offered in different regions. 2) Sharing some of the new tools developed by Industry to aid law enforcement and how they can be expanded 3)Taking stock of how things have progressed within the IGF space and how these deliberations can feed into some concrete action plans for the future. Mapping some of the efforts made in the past to the changes that we see today to identify what worked and what did not. This way we can focus our resources on enhancing the partnerships that really blossomed and led to some concrete follow up. 4) How can global community help law enforcement in tracking online crimes against children. This is an innovation that can turn the regular users of ICT applications to build intelligence and support law enforcement with the help of services provided by the IT and mobile industry.
This proposed workshop is unique in the sense that it will try to bridge the technical developments witht the law enforcement efforts but guided by child centric approaches, the combination is not often found in other workshops. Moreover this session will bring the most acknowledged experts on the field together (each of the panelists is well respected in their work domain and has years of experience and recognition behind them) to make a meaningful contribution to this issue.

Organiser(s) Name: 

ECPAT International - International child rights organisation who works with multistakeholder approach, working with law makers, law enforcement , industry, independent experts, academicians and researchers and children and young people globally. ECPAT has ECOSOC status with UN and is a member of the Virtual Global Force and partner of the ITU led COP (Child online protection ) project.

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 

Jacqueline Beauchere (Microsoft ),CONFIRMED
John Carr (eNACSO), CONFIRMED
Natasha Jackson (GSMA) CONFIRMED
Larry Magid (connectsafely.org) CONFIRMED
Richard Allan, Director of public policy EMEA
VGT representative Anjan Bose (ECPAT International) - Chair CONFIRMED
The panel has good geopgraphic and gender balance covering USA, Europe and Asia and with similar percentage of male and female panelists.
 

Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Jim Prendergast
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
About half of the participants were women
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was not seen as related to the session theme and was not raised
Report
Reported by: 
Anjan Bose
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

The growth of online applications and social networking platforms in recent times has also seen these platforms being used for distribution of child abuse images and used for approaching children. While law enforcement is actively collecting intelligence about such crimes against children, the sheer volume of these online interactions make it extremely challenging for them to collect information in real time about the ongoing incidents. It is extremely important that 1) the time between an incident and its reporting is minimized and 2) intelligent tools are developed by the technology industry (in line with the proactive monitoring tools to detect and remove spam and phishing for example) that can use social engineering tools to build smart applications whereby suspicious actions from the users will be detected and progressive monitoring within the boundaries of policy set forth by the services will be conducted.
 
 
This workshop focused on brainstorming ideas around technology that can aid law enforcement, procedures that can be put in place to guide people for better reporting of inappropriate content or incidents and also examining what the industry is doing currently to help law enforcement and the general public when their services are being misused.
The three IT and communication agencies that were represented in this panel were: Microsoft, Facebook and GSMA.
 
Microsoft has been an industrial leader in terms of creating services and tools that are given free to law enforcement to deal with online crimes, particularly against children. The recent contribution is in the form of a technology called photoDNA that uses the worst of the worst list from the database that NCMEC
(National Centre for missing and exploited children) in the United States creates, containing the images of children they receive through their reporting system.
The PhotoDNA technology creates unique signature of these images that are different from other hashing mechanism in the sense that they can detect the images even if the files are changed and edited for size, name and other features.
The technology when applied to online services (such as in the system deployed by Facebook in their Social networking platform) allows automatic detection when someone uploads such images and flagged for law enforcement investigation. This prevents the circulation of such images over and over again.
 
Microsoft also support the CETS (child exploitation tracking system which was developed by Microsoft to help law enforcement across the globe to gather essential data and investigate online child sex offenders.
 
In regard to handling reports from public and working with law enforcement, interesting approach has been taken by Facebook. They operate in a Pyramid style reporting procedure whereby different levels of priority actions are given based on the type of incidents reported. The more urgent reports that may also concern immediate risks to children are escalated to the authorities quicker than other less urgent reports. Also the community level reporting of inappropriate materials are analysed for content and taken down if found inappropriate. Facebook’s no nudity clause is strictly enforced even for adult materials and their policy strictly bars the user from uploading such content. In case of violations accounts are suspended or even truncated after repeated violations.
 
It is interesting to note that there are proactive smart monitoring and actions that are already being deployed by Facebook. For example, if an account profile is refused by multiple users from accepting friends request the systems already flags the user as suspicious and may mark the account for suspension. Such smart tools needs to be enhanced to better detect and deter the unlawful and potential harmful interaction between an offender and a child and can provide insight to law enforcement or the family of the child if such incidences do occur.
 
Facebook has committed to continue to work with child rights agencies to ensure that their technologies and services cater to the needs of the children and to develop the best guides and resources for educating them on how to stay safe online.
 
GSMA (GSM association ) represented the interest of the mobile phone industry and their alignment with the European Framework for mobile phone operators. There are 4 distinct principles that govern their work – a) Classification of commercial content so that appropriate filters can be designed to screen inappropriate content from children b) access control mechanisms such as parental filters to prevent unauthorized access to such content c) Education and awareness raising for children and parents to better educate them about using the mobile phones in safe ways and informing about reporting mechanisms if such situation arise and d) working with International reporting hotlines and law enforcement to report illegal content involving child abuse images and removing them from the networks.
 
It was highlighted that the work of the Internet Reporting hotlines are of paramount importance to investigate matters related to child abuse images online and also for victim identification purposes. The GSMA mandate supports the creation and promotion of such reporting hotlines and they have already helped in the creation of a toolkit to assist the setup of new reporting hotlines.
ECPAT has been closely involved in such process as was INHOPE and it is very important to keep this partnership going for future collaboration.
Apart from the representatives of the private sectors, the panel also drew upon the expertise of individuals and representative from the child protection agencies who elaborated the need for concerted action against the criminals who produced , distribute and consume child abuse images and also that education alone cannot solve issues when children as young as 3-4 years are going online
Protection mechanisms needs to be created to better compliment the education and awareness efforts and cultural and local contexts needs to be considered as well.

Conclusions and further comments: 

1) Child abuse images represents a crime scene and its severity needs to be considered.
2) Educational and awareness raising, empowerment of children are essential, but in situations where children going online or are being victims of ICT servicese as young as 3-4 years old, it does not solve the problem.
3) Effective legal measures and reporting systems are crucial.
4) Private sector is already developing technologies and enhancing reporting systems and proactive monitoring but those systems needs to continually evolve.
5) A lot of confusion and lack of understanding still exists among the public in general and certainly among those who are lobbying for free speech and expression about the nature and impact of child abuse images and they fail to see how these images are just not images but representation of horrific abuse and violation of the rights of the child