IGF 2010 Sept 14 – 17th at Vilnius, Lithuania

IGF for 2010 will be held at Vilnius Lithuania and some of the key topics to be discussed will include Net neutrality, Digital inclusion, Online education , Online Child safety on Social media, digital networks leveraging rural empowerment, Intellectual property rights and its impact on software so on… Will try to report more clarity as we proceed. Lithuania is at cultural melange between the East and the West of Europe and is a great place to be . More details available as you go through the videos here.

ISOC Chennai has announced its Chapter elections for the next two years. The chapter is going aggressive on its plans to tie up with similar organizations to do programs at the ground level that will engage on public dialogues and forums to spur innovation, creativity and entrepreneurs. ISOC’s larger mission and vision is dedicated to cultivating a new generation of Internet leaders who will address the critical technology, policy, business, and education challenges that lie ahead.

With this year i will be joining ISOC Chennai board to serve as Director – Corporate to garner industry participation into supporting causes related to Internet. Business participation is an critical component  to improve transparency in the policy making process and thereby governance . Hence it is necessary that we create networking corridors for more corporate brainstorming on the same. I have been associated with ISOC since 2008 as an Internet Governance Fellow and have been actively campaigning for creating awareness on the issue of Safer Internet for Children. (An interesting fact is that ISOC Chennai was the one of the earliest ISOC Chapter in India.)


There is a door open in your home ! Safeguard your Child !

How would you feel that your home has a open door that you are not aware of ? How would your react if i were to say that your child is exposed to this open door ? Have you ever wondered what your child is doing online ? Isnt it time that we start to understand the impending threats of an unregulated internet at home. Assuming that the government is doing a lot of measures to curb illegal material online and also assuming that our ISP’s (Internet Service Provider) also do a great job in regulating content online. 10th of Februray commemorates Safe Internet Day and is a good time to discuss issues related to this and thereby create awareness among the society at large.

First lets understand certain basic facts about online content.

1. Content is classified as legal or illegal based on the person viewing the content . What might be appropriate viewing for an adult can be offensive when viewed by children and minors. Content providers need to provide Proper Age verification systems on their website to facilitate child protection on such sites.

2. Online content is never limited by geographical boundaries. National borders don’t play a pivotal role in internet. In principle the criminal jurisdiction can be created with the place in which the criminal act has been performed or the place in which the perpetrator resides

3. Dissemination of content takes place in the following manner. It also narrows down on the onus of shouldering responsibility .

Content Producers >> Content Providers >> Access Providers >> Users.

The principal role players in child protection falls primarily with parents and then its is left to the teachers. These two are the key stake holders in providing online safety to children. Create an awareness campaign among parents spreading the message on the possible risks that are children face online and how we can combat and prevent such threats. We need to remove certain perceptions on safety that most parents have about the online world. Apart from protecting our children from lurking paedophiles online, today the children are exposed to extreme forms of violence in video games and demented views online. We hear cases and instances of misguided youth taking to directions of terrorism. Eventhough we are yet to find a direct blatant link between online content and behavioural influence we cannot deny the fact that there is an element of threat.

Some of the Recommendations that we can propose to address these issues are

1. We need set standards / clear guidelines for online game development as well as for adult content viewing
2. We need to put in place Sophisticated Data mining tools to track the online perpetrators who have been producing Child porn content
3. We need to have an ISOC Chennai focus group on Child protection online that can address these issue on the ground in Indian Scenario.
4. In Indian most of the content is accessed by children from cybercafe and we need to insist on universal framework / means to verify age group of the user to address this concern
5. We should clearly establish a minimum age sentiment on certain sites like Child erotica, manga, Stales so on.
6. Using the ISOC Chennai Focus group on Child protection, we need to empower the parent and teachers on mechanisms and methods by which adequate measures are taken to protect children from such exploitation. First there needs to be Self regulation instruments and that awareness needs to be imparted to the parents and teachers.
7. From ISOC Chennai we need to create a Youth protection round table inviting teachers and parents to be a part of and that encourages collaborative and cross border dialogue thereby to provide an optimal mix of effective technology enhanced strategies in one hand and education based strategies on the other thereby enable a safer and secure internet.
8. Global organisations like Clicksafe, CEOP, Insafe network will join up with organisations from all over the world in a virtual exhibition ground starting from 10th February. Currently Insafe operates across European Union and we in India need to create a similar body to address a much bigger child user group online. The Insafe virtual fair will open its doors to the public on 10th February and close on February 24th. You can access this event at http://www.sidfair.org, visitors will be able to get an overview of what is going on in their country, browse resources in their language and watch videos.

All these issues need to be addressed and in Indian scenario we are in a very premature stage in terms of Child protection online. We are talking about moulding a future generation and It is the onus of credible organisations like ISOC to address these issues. As a part of this we invite educators and parents to join hands with us to make this possible after all we serve our time at earth for maybe 60 – 70 years, but lets leave behind a better tomorrow for our children.

Strategies to prevent and fight online child sexual exploitation in developing countries !

This has been one of the most grave topics that needs a greater voice in the online world. Unlike other issues where there is only sustained impact of IG in our day today life this topic has greater impact in invasion of our privacy and with serious implications. The topic was moderated by Hindeburgo

Child abuse and child pornography is a key issue that needs wider addressal as it is of paramount importance to protect our children. The panel had key experts from the industry and the public enterprises too. Companies like google, Friendster and social networking sites (sns) like orkut, myspace, face book  were addressing their strategies at operational level and holistic macro level .Google seems to be lobbying for stricter laws on Child pornography in India. Safe search, net smart and similar iniitatives in google search have been driving across internet safety to users at the grassroots level.

The session was followed by an interaction initiated by Adriana Scordamaglia who is the head of Cybercrime division of Brazil. She was presenting a case on the behaviour of online users in brazil (MPF -Ministerio of Public federale) and initiatives to curb child porn that has been done by Brazil. The cybercrime unit was established way back in 2003 at sao paulo and today brazil stands 5th in the top internet users in the developed world. Each user seems to put in 26hrs per month online. (www.safenet.org.br) has been one of their initiatives to report and track child pornography in brazil. Nearly 25000 cases of child pornography are reported in a quarter from brazil. 2/3 of the internet users in brazil are on orkut. Offenses like cyberbullying, distribution of child porn content, hate crimes, grooming, insult and slander and harrassment of children were discussed in detail and steps that we need to take to handle such offenses. All these sns (social networking sites) seem to be bound by the laws prevailing in the country in which their server is hosted and not the jurisdiction and legislation where the crime has been committed. This issue needs to be addressed with top priority and IGF comes to forefront to enforce such laws among the participating countries with reasonable standards to prescribe to a common law that can be on par with international human rights standards. Initiatives like safernet have been drafted in place at brazil to make the internet easily accountable on conflicting images posted by perpetrators of such crime.

Worldwide there are nearly 80 countries that dont seem to have proper legislation, technology or infiltrations mechanisms to curb such child pornography. Some third world countries have individuals looking at child pornography as a home based business opportunity. Even india didnt have sufficient legislation in this space until lately. Only after the incident where Baazee.com CEO was apprehended for the selling of a MMS clip ( of a DPS school student) seems to the the waking hour. And we have so many miles to go inthis initiative which is still at its infancy stages in India. One of the stronger logic points are that wherever such digital images emanate from into the online world there is a greater possibility that the real crime is happening in the immediate vicinity.

The session was amazingly informative with plethora of speakers on cybercrime from different countries talking in their native toungue thus there were digital translators available. Looking at IGF has opened up the immense possibilities by which we can raise the quality bar in PROTO to an entirely higher level that can be synonymous with global standards.  



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