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  • Published 15.02.18

    Call: International Children's Peace Prize

    KidsRight Foundation

    The International Children's Peace Prize has been awarded annually by the KidsRights Foundation since 2005. The prize is awarded to children who are particularly committed to the rights of children. The prize provides a platform for children to present their ideas on a wide scale and at the same time serves recognition for the outstanding commitment they have shown so far.

    Until 1 March 2018 committed children and young people can again be nominated for the prize. The nominations can be assigned to different categories such as education, participation or peace. So far, no separate category has been dedicated to the subject of children's rights and digital media. However, some of the Children's Peace Prize winners have used digital media as a tool for their child rights work.

    For example, Eva Tolage, 17 years from Tanzania: she started a petition under the hashtag #StandwithEva, which called on the Tanzanian government to provide clean water for schools in Tanzania. She has been able to collect more than 150,000 signatures, prompting the government to provide clean water and safe toilets in schools. This has improved the situation for many children and families, they are able to access clean water more quickly, the children do not have to travel long distances to wells and thus have more time for their school education.

    Or Nikhiya, 15 years from India: Nikhiva launched the campaign “Bags, Books and Blessings” to improve the equipment of children in school. Through social media and popular newspapers, she has called for donating school supplies to children whose families cannot afford it. In three years, the project has already provided more than 7,700 pupils with materials.

    This visibility for projects and the commitment of children who are particularly committed to the rights of other children is worthy of continued support. Do you know a child whose activities and great commitment - including through digital media - could or can help improve the enforcement of children's rights? Then nominate this child by 1 March on the website of the International Children´s Peace Price.

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  • Published 22.12.17

    IGF Day 4: Messages from Geneva

    Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    21.12.2017 With Messages from Geneva the twelfth Internet Governance Forum was closed on Dec. 21st, 2017. More than 2.000 participants from 120 countries have attended the gathering and discussed questions of non-discriminate access net neutrality and the economical and ecological consequences of digitisation. As a read thread cyber security ran through many of the sessions und workshops. In the process it became clear that the risk potential has changed since the beginning. Were it then SPAM-emails that were discussed as a safety issues now massive attacks on the digital infrastructure endangered societal and economical development and growth.

    One of the key messages from Geneva is therefore: Society can only fully benefit from digitisation when safety and security are ensured. This means that strategies need to be developed further and implemented worldwide. In face of the global infrastructure and usage all over the world different levels of security in particular countries pose a general threat.

    In parallel the social mission was affirmed to ensure access for all, leaving no one behind, capacity development and special attention for vulnerable groups - as children and youths - during the days of Geneva.

    The multistakeholder approach has proven of value and been developed further since the World Summit of Information Society - WSIS for coping with the challenges. Its further impact is demonstrated by the example of Kenya, since the Kenyan government has introduced an obligatory multistakeholder consultation before they change legislation as an outcome of the 2011 IGF in Nairobi.

    As Armin Plum from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in his closing remarks quoting the UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin: “An inclusive, safe and secure internet which benefits are enjoyed equally in the developed and developing countries is a shared responsibility for all of us.”

    With this order we are now looking forward to fruitful intersessional work and the next IGF, where ever it may take place.

  • Published 21.12.17

    IGF Day 3: Dynamic Coalitions Day

    Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    210.12.2017 The third day of the IGF starts with the Main Session of Dynamic Coalitions. These are groups formed by of organizations and individuals who share common interests and work together on their issues. Altogether 17 groups are currently active and reflect in their composition the multi-stakeholder principle as well.

    The Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety - (DC-COS) - has been established in Rio de Janeiro in 2007. It is coordinated by ecpat international and working on all questions related to risk potentials and protection measures for children on the internet. In 2007 the Digital Opportunities Foundation represented the European project Youth Protection Roundtable at the IGF and we have affiliated with the Dynamic Coalition to take part in the international exchange on youth media protection.

    In the Main Session working steps and results that have been achieved in the twelve months since the IGF in Guadalajara were presented and discussed. The Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety put their focus on the Declaration of Rome and the input of the coalition members to this document. Overall synergies between the single coalitions became clear and shall be harnessed even more in the future. These include issues as net neutrality, public access and a general concept for the consent to online activities discussed under the term “Consent by Design”.

    In the afternoon the Dynamic Coalition’s workshop on Child Online Safety the took place. Topic was the monitoring of content. John Carr explained for ecpat international that platform providers have enhanced their efforts on deleting illegal content. At the same time there exist reports about freelancers in South East Asia - mostly under bad working conditions - who are performing this task. It is unacceptable, so John Carr, that the Western World is dumping their content-waste like they do with their electronic garbage in the developing countries where poorly paid women - sometimes even in presence of their children - have to view and sort out pictures displaying extremely violent content and sexual abuse of children.

    Karuna Nain, facebook and Marco Pancini, Google explained how their companies deal with complaints on content. The biggest challenge is the amount of reports. All illegal content would be deleted after careful examination, but many of the reported content does not violate the law or platform conditions. Michael Tunks, Internet Watch Foundation, explained the staff welfare programme for employees dealing with huge amounts of intolerable material. Larry Magid, member of the Safety-Board of facebook and other large companies, declared him not being aware of the issue of people monitoring content like this on a freelance basis not being subject to such welfare programmes. Several of the approximate 50 participants in the workshop stated this for themselves. At the same time they enquired critically the fact that it is increasingly up to the platform providers to decide if content qualifies for deletion or not. Catrin Bauer-Bulst from the European Commission explained thereupon that there is no obligation for monitoring in Europe, but companies, if they become aware of illegal content, must follow applicable law. Different than in the USA the E-Commerce-Directive does not provide for a “Good-Samaritan-Rule” exempting the platform provider from liability for the decision whether content is deleted or is allowed to stay online.

    Speeches and discussions showed the manifold facets of the topic and demonstrate the huge need for comprehensive strategies and holistic concepts of protection for more online safety of children and youths. There is a lot to do for the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety in the year 2018!

  • Published 20.12.17

    IGF Day 2: Domain Names in the Focus

    Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    19.12.2017: Someday all internet users will encounter the topic of domain names for example when they register a domain for professional or private purpose or when they land on a website located at a sub domain of one of the new generic Top Level Domains like .digital here in use. But nearly no one knows the organisation responsible for domain names their structure and procedures. ICANN is a non-profit organisation based in California, acting worldwide. This is mirrored in their board that is supposed to be composed diverse both in regard of geography and culture. The ICANN meetings that are held usually three times a year over several days are generally open to everybody. However most civil society organisations especially those advocating children’s rights and child protection only seldom have the human resources and financial budget to take part in those meetings held all over the world.

    Today we got the opportunity to hold a Lightning Session where we explained to IGF participants „The Impact of Domain Names on Children’s Rights and Child Safety“ and pointed out possible measures to counteract risks for children.

    The allocation of domain names holds high potential to ensure children’ s rights and their protection from inappropriate content and inadequate contact. For domain names especially attractive to children f. e. sub domains under .play or .kids the risk of misuse could be reduced significantly by safety reviews within the registration procedure. The Verified Top Level Domain Consortiums (vTLD) demonstrates how such a safety check is performed for generic Top Level Domains like .bank. The review of applicants for respective domains causes additional efforts, thus the registration of a vTLDs costs at present around 1.500 USD. This is affordable for companies applying for registration of a sub domain under .bank, but it’s not for child welfare organisations that would like to register a sub domain under .play or .kids.

    In other cases domains with respective names pave the way directly to illegal content, f. e. when child sexual abuse imagery is hosted there. Often it could be common interest of the registry that has the right to grant sub domains under a certain TLD, and the child protection community, to keep the address space clean. A domain like could host legitimate content, but when child sexual abuse material can be found there children’s rights and dignity are violated and the reputation of the respective city will be damaged as well. In order to change this co-operation of all stakeholders involved is needed, reliable agreements on the procedures and a fund to finance the additional security checks for child sensitive domain names.

    More information can be found in the presentation to the Lightning Session that is available here for download.

  • Published 18.12.17

    IGF Day 1: Internet Intermediaries and their Role in Freedom of Expression

    Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    18.12.2017: This morning I attended a session on Internet Intermediaries at the IGF in Geneva. Some time ago the term was newly coined for certain stakeholders all of them in charge of providing access to various types of content in one or another way. I was curious to learn about intermediaries’ sense of responsibility for children’s safety.

    The session featured the a set of recommendations drawn up by a group of experts on behalf of the Council of Europe that shall be adopted by the Committee of Ministers. First it is important to emphasise that these recommendations are very well elaborated. They comprise of two parts namely the obligations of states with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the digital environment and the responsibilities of internet intermediaries with respect to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    The recommendations address many important aspects like f. e. freedom of expression and the protection of privacy and personal data. Child sexual abuse material is mentioned in paragraph 1.3.2 as a type of content that does not fall under the obligation for judicial review before restricting access, thus providing for an exemption from the general rule that is very much appreciated for the benefit of children’s dignity. Nonetheless I felt somewhat disappointed when I had to learn that in light of the huge groups of vulnerable people the experts group decided not to mention any of them explicitly in the recommendations. In fact one in three internet users worldwide is a child, so one can not argue that this is too small a group to gain special attention with regard to their safety on the internet.

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