15 recommendations for child safety online

The Child Dignity Alliance challenges law enforcement, government and industry to act

Posted in: Online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse , Uncategorised

“We hope to assist in breaking down silos, tackling fragmented approaches and addressing the current restrictive policies and procedures.” Child Dignity Alliance

A Foreword from the Child Dignity Alliance Technical Working Group report on child safety online…

“In 2017, the Centre for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome hosted the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World, in partnership with the WePROTECT Global Alliance and Il Telefono Azzurro. Dozens of the world’s online safety leaders joined the Congress to discuss the international fight against online child sexual exploitation.

A ‘Declaration of Rome’ was presented, and accepted, by Pope Francis at the World Congress. In order to implement the commitments made in the Declaration, the Child Dignity Alliance convened six working groups so as to stimulate global awareness of the global CSAM pandemic through research, policy and interfaith collaboration.

The working groups were involved in the following work:

  • Prevention research, chaired by Fr Hans Zollner
  • Foundational research on harm to children in the digital world, chaired by Prof Ernesto Caffo
  • Building global awareness, chaired by Baroness Joanna Shields
  • Building a multi-faith coalition to protect children in the digital world, chaired by Ernie Allen
  • Protecting children from internet pornography, also chaired by Ernie Allen
  • Technology and its impacts on children, chaired by Julie Inman Grant

The Technical Working Group was charged with examining the role of technology in combatting the proliferation of online child sexual exploitation and abuse imagery. The working group is comprised of some of the world’s leading experts in this area, including Julie Inman Grant; Baroness Joanna Shields OBE; Baroness Beeban Kidron OBE; Jacqueline F. Beauchere; John Carr OBE; Peter MacKay QC; Christian Berg; Brooke Istook; and John Stix.

A focus of this report is on the need to dismantle the chief technical, legal and policy silos that are frustrating real collaboration among law enforcement, industry, government and the non-government sector. As a global community, we need to embrace innovation, safety and agility as core tenets of technology design.

The report also highlights the need to acknowledge that some of the impediments to collaboration are more perceived than real, more the result of custom and practice than unsolvable. More often than not, these are based on risk avoidance, lack of trust in systems, procedures and intent, and an inconsistent application of law and policy. In some cases, barriers are a legacy of organisational history, and no longer reflect the issues that are most relevant today.

There is an urgency to this mission. We must strive to take every step we can, individually and as a global community, to combat the scourge of online child sexual exploitation and abuse wherever it is found. This report highlights that this can be achieved. Despite the barriers that have been identified, there is real hope. Advancements in technology, machine-learning and artificial intelligence have the potential to radically transform the landscape. As a global community, we need to do all that we can to ensure that we harness the possibilities that they offer in a unified and integrated way.

The Technical Working Group commends this report to leaders around the world who are now poised to take our work forward.”