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child protection Archives - LINX

UK Government publishes Internet Safety green paper

By | Content Issues, Malware and DOS attacks, News

The UK Government has announced proposals for a voluntary levy on Internet companies “to raise awareness and counter internet harms”. The government has said that the levy would target issues such as cyberbullying, online abuse and children being exposed to pornography on the Internet.

The levy is one of a series of measures proposed in the Internet Safety Green Paper, which is the result of a consultation launched in February. The other measures include:

·       A new social media code of practice to require more intervention by social media companies against allegedly bullying, intimidating or humiliating content

·       An annual Internet safety transparency report, to help government track how fast social media companies remove material that has been the subject of a complaint

·       Demands for tech and digital startups to “think safety first” – prioritising features to facilitate complaints content removal as functionality that must be into apps and products from the very start

All the measures will be voluntary although the government has not ruled out legislating if companies refuse to take part. In remarks that will be of concern to Internet companies, the Culture Secretary Karen Bradley hinted that the government could change the legal status of social media companies, to deem them publishers rather than platforms, which could mean even greater regulation of their users’ content.

“Legally they are mere conduits but we are looking at their role and their responsibilities and we are looking at what their status should be. They are not legally publishers at this stage but we are looking at these issues,” she said.

The consultation will close on 7 December, and the government expects to respond in early 2018.

Amber Rudd focusses on Internet in conference speech

By | Content Issues, News
Home Secretary Amber Rudd focussed on Internet policy issues in her speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester. The Home Secretary reiterated her demands for Internet platforms to do more to combat terrorism and child abuse.
Rudd announced plans to tighten terrorism laws to criminalise merely viewing terrorist content, as opposed to keeping a copy found on the Internet, as well as new legislation to criminalise publishing information about the police or armed forces for the purposes of preparing an action of terrorism.Internet companies, however, will be most directly concerned with the Home Secretaries demands directly of them.

“But it is not just Government who has a role here. In the aftermath of the Westminster Bridge attack, I called the internet companies together. Companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter and Microsoft. I asked them what they could do, to go further and faster.

They answered by forming an international forum to counter terrorism. This is good progress, and I attended their inaugural meeting in the West Coast.

These companies have transformed our lives in recent years with advances in technology.

Now I address them directly. I call on you with urgency, to bring forward technology solutions to rid your platforms of this vile terrorist material that plays such a key role in radicalisation.

Act now. Honour your moral obligations.”

— Home Secretary Amber Rudd

The Home Secretary announced that the government would be funding Project Arachnid, web-crawler software developed by the Canadian child protection Cybertipline, designed to search out child abuse imagery online.

“It is software that crawls, spider-like across the web, identifying images of child sexual abuse, and getting them taken down, at an unprecedented rate.

Our investment will also enable internet companies to proactively search for, and destroy, illegal images in their systems. We want them to start using it as soon as they can.

Our question to them will be ‘if not, why not’. And I will demand very clear answers.”

— Amber Rudd

Rudd also doubled down on previous attacks on end-to-end encryption in person-to-person messaging software

“But we also know that end to end encryption services like Whatsapp, are being used by paedophiles. I do not accept it is right that companies should allow them and other criminals to operate beyond the reach of law enforcement.”

— Amber Rudd

Speaking earlier at a conference fringe event, she hit back at critics who accuse her of fighting a war against mathematics, saying

“I don’t need to understand how encrpytion works”,

— Amber Rudd

And accusing tech experts of “patronising” and “sneering” at politicians who want to regulate technology.

Report reveals that cyberbullying is not as prevalent as feared

By | Content Issues, News
A study led by Dr. Andrew Przybylski of the University of Oxford found that cyberbullying – bullying that takes place over the internet – is not as prevalent as feared. The study comprised a survey of over 110,000 people and it found that just one percent of adolescents reported being bullied online but not in person.
Furthermore, the study found that those who were bullied online reported a lower emotional impact from the bullying online as opposed to bullying that happened face to face.Dr. Przybylski said, “There is a vanishingly small percentage of people who are bullied only online”. He went on to add that: “It has crystallised in the public imagination, and it’s easy to get drawn into these fears, but just because it is new it does not mean it’s a new behaviour.
Dr. Przybylski said that cyber bullying is merely a “new avenue to victimise those already being bullied in traditional ways, rather than a way to pick new victims” and urged efforts to be directed at building resilience as opposed to managing online behaviour.“The report can be read here.

Baroness Howe tables Private Member’s Bill

By | Content Issues, News
Baroness Howe has tabled a private member’s bill seeking to broaden the definition of what is classified as extreme pornography.
Baroness Howe, a crossbencher and life peer in the House of Lords, has tabled a private member’s bill demanding a broadening of the definition of what constitutes “extreme pornography” in the 2017 Digital Economy Act. She advocates defining “extreme pornography” to include videos that either wholly or partly portray scenes that were “produced solely or principally for the purposes of sexual arousal” and did not receive a certificate from the video works authority because it did not believe there was a suitable classification certificate. The amendment would extend to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.As a private members’ bill, it is unlikely to become law, but the initiative does maintain the Baroness’ campaign of pressure on the government in this area.

You can read the private member’s bill here.

German court denies mother’s access to daughter’s Facebook account

By | Content Issues, News, Privacy and Investigation
An appeals court in Berlin has recently ruled that a mother cannot gain access to her daughter’s Facebook account. Following the girl being killed by a train in 2012, the mother attempted to gain access to her daughter’s Facebook account to determine whether the incident was deliberate or accidental.

Facebook refused to provide access to the girl’s account, citing the girl’s privacy rights.A court in Berlin had initially ruled that the mother has the right to gain access to the girl’s account, citing the fact that she was a minor when she was killed, and that Germany’s law on inheritance suggests the girl’s contract with Facebook are transferred to her mother. Furthermore, as she was a minor, the mother has a duty of care over her and this means that she should be allowed to have access to the account.

However, the appeals court later ruled against the initial decision, arguing that the girl’s right to privacy superseded the mother’s parental rights. In addition, blocking access to the girl’s account would ensure the confidentiality of those she communicated with. The decision is best understood in the context of Germany’s aversion to surveillance, and with the understanding that Germany has one of the strictest privacy laws in Europe.

It is understood that the mother is likely to appeal the decision of the appeals court.