On Thursday, March 5th, 2020, a Department of Justice press conference announced a new list of principles that tech companies should implement in order to curb online abuse. These principles were the joint effort of five governments: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, and the UK.
Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Snap and Roblox are some of the companies that have already agreed to implement the principles. In Washington, a roundtable discussion took place among representatives from the five governments about the need for companies to implement these principles. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
“It is truly horrific that thousands of sick pedophiles are preying on vulnerable children from across the world. This scandal requires our global partners to work together, and these principles provide a blueprint for delivering just that.”
“I want this landmark collaboration across borders and sectors to define a stronger, new, united approach.”
Last year, the tech industry reported an increase in child abuse images and videos of 50%. According to the UK National Strategic Assessment, there are now more than 3.5 million accounts registered to some of the most exploitative sites on the dark web.
The 11 Principles are:
- Prevent the spread of known abuse material
- Prevent creation of new abuse material
- Identify and prevent online grooming
- Identify and prevent other predatory behaviors
- Target live streaming
- Prevent abusive searches
- Specialized approach for children
- Victim/survivor considerations
- Global approach
- Sharing data and insights
- Publishing data and insights
The full text of the principles can be viewed here, but here is a breakdown by category:
- Prevent the spread of child abuse material online – this category includes principles one and two on the list and aims to have companies actively work to prevent both the circulation of current abusive material as well as the creation and distribution of new material.
- Target grooming and other predatory behavior – this category is made up of principles 3 & 4 and wants companies to work to target certain behavior patterns online that indicate grooming or solicitation that are often precursors to abuse.
- Prevent live streaming of abuse – The 5th principal identifies the danger posed by live streaming in which abuse is shared with a live audience of offenders. In many cases, the live stream is recorded and distributed as well. Companies are encouraged to identify and prevent such live streams and report them to the authorities.
- Search – The 6th principle aims to encourage companies, especially those that offer web indexing services, to prevent searches that indicate abusive intent as well as prevent automatic suggestions for such material.
- Specialized approach for children using the web – This is the 7th principle and aims to get companies to adopt measures that specifically protect children who are using the web. This can be achieved by learning how children use the web to understand when the user is a child and protect them accordingly.
- Victims/survivors considerations – The 8th principle on the list, this aims to target material which, while abusive, is not necessarily illegal. Many images, videos, or recordings might fall below the legal threshold of abuse but still warrant company action. Companies should put reporting options in place that allow for context and confirmation of the material.
- Collaboration between platforms – This category includes principles 9,10, and 11. They all seek to impress upon companies the need for collaboration in the fight against online abuse. This includes sharing data, insights and relevant expertise wherever possible.
L1ght: An Integrated Solution
These principles all aim to tackle the issues of online child abuse from a variety of angles including identifying when the user is a child, or learning behavior patterns that signify grooming, among others. By using L1ght, all of these dangers can be addressed with the most advanced technology available.
The 11 principles outlined above indicate that governments now understand the massive challenge posed by online abuse. They have begun to realize that the problem must be addressed from multiple angles and levels simultaneously.
L1ght keeps the internet safe by addressing online toxicity such as cyberbullying and shaming and can be deployed anywhere people communicate, including at hosting or ISP level.
L1ght is one solution for all 11 principles.
Get in touch to see a demo, and join the fight to protect the next generation of internet users.