Telenor works with the European Commission to help create a safer Internet for children.
The Internet can be a dangerous place, especially for children. Many operators and service providers, including Telenor, have already implemented numerous measures to help protect children from online evils. Now the European Commission (EC) is spearheading an initiative to streamline industry-wide solutions.
Online Safety for Children initiative
Telenor Group, along with approximately 30 other leading ICT players in the Internet value chain (including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Vodafone), have joined the EC’s coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids. Telenor was invited to join in mid-2011 due to its experience in child online safety, and has since immersed itself in all five work groups that form this initiative. Together, the industry is attempting to create a more uniform approach to protecting children online.
Telenor brings its experience to Brussels
“Telenor’s business units have developed many solutions to help give parents more control and protect children from inappropriate content. It is this experience – including our child sexual abuse filter and parental controls – that we are bringing to the table in Brussels,” explained Ana Brodtkorb, Project Manager of the EU initiative on online safety and Telenor’s representative in the coalition.
“We are discussing possible measures that can be implemented industry-wide. One thing we are considering is Web-based button, so we can make it easier for end-users to report offensive or harmful content to an appropriate back office with the click of a button,” she added.
Commissioner Kroes puts online safety high on agenda
The initiative to make the Internet a better place for kids is high on the European Commission’s Digital Agenda. EU Commissioner for Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes is leading the effort and has asked the work groups to draft suggestions for simple and robust reporting tools, age-appropriate privacy settings, wider use of content classification, greater availability of parental controls and effective takedown of child abuse material.
The working groups are preparing their recommendations for Commissioner Kroes, to be presented on July 11 and implemented from August 1, with a year-end deadline for the affected companies. The responsibility for actual implementation of these new child safety measures rests with the individual company, and in Telenor’s case, with its individual business units in Europe.
Dedicated resources required
“Implementing these child safety measures will require a comprehensive effort on part of our business units. It requires technical skills and financial resources, as well as cooperation with relevant expert NGOs or local law enforcement,” said Ana. “This is a cause that we believe in. Our business units have already taken several steps in the right direction, and the EU is now elevating this issue and alerting the entire industry as to just how serious this challenge is for everyone.”
Industry initiative in tandem
In addition to its involvement in the EC initiative, Telenor has joined an industry-driven initiative called “ICT principles” that aims to create principles for the “safe use of connected devices and online services by children and young people”. This is a long-term project that is self-driven by many of the same participants as in the EC initiative.
“We are active in this area. Telenor takes responsibility for the harm that can result from its services, which is why we are heavily involved with governments and our peers to create preventative solutions that lessen the harm,” said Ana. “Through our active involvement with the industry and the EU, we are helping to create a safer Internet for our children.”