Child protection - children’s rights - human rights - report from day 2 IGF 2018, 13.11.2018Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
The protection of children was one of the major themes on day 2. In the morning, WeProtect Global Alliance, ACSIS, an organisation gathering more than 600 civil society organisations vom from the African Continent, UNICEF, the Internet Watch Foundation and Arda Gerkens, Senator in the Dutch Parliament were engaged in a debate on fighting the sexual exploitation of children. Exorbitantly rising numbers of child sexual abuse imagery, new forms of abuse as live streamed videos, and an ever younger age of the children depicted, so Susie Hargreaves, IWF, demonstrate the necessity of immediate action. At the same time especially on the African continent more and more children have mobile access to the Internet, but they lack offers of media literacy training in order to be empowered to cope with the risks, stressed Aicha Jeridi, ACSIS.
Anjan Bose, UNICEF, presented the catalogue developed by the WeProtect Global Alliance covering 21 issues, the so called Model National Response. Participating countries can implement the catalogue according to their national situation in order to combat sexual abuse of children. Based on the catalogue ‚threat assessments’ were performed for the first time in several countries, to measure the risks and implement respective policies. The full report can be found at We Protect Global Alliance.
Arda Gerkens referred to the possibility to address the phenomenon based on administrative law. Only an authority endowed with the necessary powers could bring the service providers hosting such content to delete it. We need a zero tolerance strategy towards child sexual abuse, so Gerkens. But it would also be necessary to provide advice and assistance for those men who consume this type of content since only if demand were to dry up, the swamp of these offers could be drained away.
In the following session organised by the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety web services directly offered to children or used by them were in the focus of the debate. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child children have the right to access to information, to express their opinion freely and participate to society together with others. Also they have the right to privacy and to protection, especially from sexual abuse and commercial exploitation. Nowadays children have access to networked devices and services at an ever younger age. Education of children therefore also has to enable them to make use of digital opportunities responsibly. Nonetheless responsibility could and should not be with parents and pedagogues alone, so a majority of participants to the session. Rather, providers would have to develop new services in such a way that they can be used safely by children. Offers that are designed in a way that motivates children to maximum engagement with the service, for example apps that provide incentives for longer and more intensive use, are as questionable as services that reward the number of users linked to the profile, or games that require the purchase of items for a fee to reach the next level. This leads to a commercialisation of childhood, which is based in particular on the evaluation of the behaviour recorded during the use of the services and the economisation of these data for the development of new services. The participants in the session called for an ethical debate on such business practices; providers should take into account the different needs of children as based on their psychological developmental.
Both themes also made their way into the thematic main session „Effective policies for inclusive und prosperous digital transformation - what’s needed?“, jointly organised with the Dynamic Coalitions as well as the final thematic main session on Human Rights and Internet Governance.
Paris Peace Forum opens the Paris Digital Week 2018Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
After the celebration of the commemoration on armistice day 100 years after the end of the second world war president Macron has together with UN Secretary general António Guterres and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel opened the first Paris Peace Forum on Sunday afternoon. While US president Donald Trump ostentatiously did not take part, other leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan were among those who listened as Merkel, Macron and Gutteres lauded the U.N. and institutions like it that seek multilateral solutions to global problems.
In the following days during the Paris Digital Week representatives of governments, international organisations, NGOs and also private companies will gather to discuss the most burning issues the world is facing nowadays with a strong focus on finding concrete answers.
In parallel the thirteenth Internet Governance Forum will take place at UNESCO premises in Paris. Both events are thematically strongly interconnected, one focus will be on Artificial Intelligence. In an Open Forum organised by UNICEF for example taking children’s rights in consideration in the development of applications based on artificial intelligence will be discussed on Tuesday. Human Rights is another main issue among the topics of the IGF. Here the exercise of violence is addressed as well as the prevention of child sexual abuse material being distributed via the Internet. Taking up the debates at the Paris Peace Forum at the Internet Governance Forum also aspects of economic development in relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Cyber Security are on the agenda.
Please find here our reports from the IGF.
Putting People at the Centre - Report on IGF Day 1Jutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
The thirteenth Internet Governance Forum was opened with a high-level panel on Monday afternoon. UNESCO General Director Audrey Azoulay welcomed the participants and underlined the importance of education, cultural values and ethics - especially regarding the developments in the field of artificial intelligence. These are the core values of UNESCO that should be upheld in light of digitisation.
UN Secretary General António Guterres subsequently asked to put technologies and their fantastic possibilities in service of the people. He also referred to strengthening the fundamental values of humanity. Internet Governance should, according to Guterres, include and amplify the weak and missing voices and help to bridge these digital divides between and within countries. Technology should empower not overpower people. The risks associated with digitisation could also be turned into digital opportunities. Guterres underlined the efforts of the French and the German Government to sustain the importance of the IGF. In the area of digitisation cooperation is needed, he said, that is why the United Nations launched the High Level Panel on Digital Cooperation - HLPDC in 2018.
Then the French President Emmanuel Macron called for the values of the UNESCO to be upheld. We stand at a critical juncture, Macron said, and asked for efforts to ensure a free, open, safe and secure Internet. We should not allow mistakes to happen out of a misunderstood sense of neutrality. Therefore, according to Macron, it is incumbent to regulate the internet and regulate its actors. Internet stakeholders have to take charge, we need to shoulder our responsibility in order to protect the people.
Macron explicitly stressed that child sexual abuse imagery, terrorism and hate speech should be subject to regulation. A strategy based only on self-regulation could endanger democracy, according to Macron. We have to see today, that there are democratic and liberal conceptions of states, but also undemocratic ones. Therefore it is necessary to establish a new multilateralism.
For the Internet Governance Forum Macron demanded to go a step beyond debates and promote concrete measures. Based on the initial approaches at the IGF 2017 in Geneva and in the light of the IGF 2019 in Berlin, participants of the IGF 2018 in Paris should draw up a Road Map of results. Concrete suggestions made by President Macron are in the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace . This high-level declaration on developing common principles for securing cyberspace has already received the backing of many states, as well as private companies and civil society organizations.
In November, Paris will be the Capital of Internet Governance - IGF 2018 in FranceJutta Croll
The thirteenth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be held in Paris, France, from 12th to 14th of November 2018, hosted by the French Government. The meeting will be held at the headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in parallel with the Paris Peace Forum on 11th to -13th of November.
In his announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron emphasized the importance of welcoming the IGF in Paris in order to “share common ideas” and to advance discussions on International Internet policy issues. Sharing ideas and broad and thoughtful collaboration has never been more important given the pace of change and the clear and increasing need to make progress.
The IGF programme and the intersessional activities are guided by the 55-member Multistakeholder Advisory Group (MAG), appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General to advise him on these matters. Jutta Croll, chairwoman of the board of the Digital Opportunities Foundation, was appointed as a member of the group this year. As a representative of Civil Society she will serve the MAG with her expertise especially with regard to children’s rights and child protection in the digital world and bring in her experience as a member of the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety since its establishment at the IGF in Rio de Janeiro 2007.
From July 11th to 13th, the Multistakeholder Advisory Group convened for their second meeting this year in Geneva to decide on the programme and to discuss the selection of workshops for the IGF 2018. 344 proposals were sent in from all around the world within the four week deadline. When shaping the IGF programme, the MAG is strictly following the principle of diversity regarding regional background, stakeholder groups, gender, and content. The internet policy issues the IGF participants 2018 will focus on include cybersecurity, data privacy, emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, Human Rights, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These themes for the meeting were derived through an open global call for issues, thus ensuring that the thematic main sessions, the workshops and other session formats will address themes that are currently of high relevance in Internet policy.
The IGF is unique as a platform for multistakeholder Internet policy discussions. After the World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva and Tunis 2003 and 2005, the United Nations first initiated the IGF for five years to address the issues brought up during WSIS. In 2010, the mandate was prolonged for another five years and then in 2015 for the next decade till 2025. Past IGF meetings have attracted between 2,000 and 3,000 participants, representing all regions and stakeholder groups, including governments, the private sector, civil society and the technical community.
The fourteenth IGF will be hosted by the German Federal Government in Berlin in November 2019. Stakeholders from politics, industry, academia and civil society are already invited to engage in the multistakeholder process and develop their topics and ideas for the programme. For more information please refer to the website of the IGF at https://www.intgovforum.org/.
Recommendation of the Council of Europe on children’s rights in the digital environmentJutta Croll
How to better respect, protect and fulfil the rights of the child in the digital environment is at the core of the new Recommendation adopted on July 4th by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers.
When the Council of Europe adopted the Sofia-Strategy for the implementation of the UN-CRC in April 2016 the enforcement of children’s rights in the digital environment was addressed for the first time and established as one of the five pillars of the strategy. In light of the rapidly advancing process of digitisation of our everyday life this was a reasonable step forward to ensure that children’s rights are also respected in the digital environment.
The task resulting from the Sofia-Strategy was commissioned to a group of experts - the CAHENF-IT, to which on behalf of the project childrens-rights.digital also Jutta Croll belongs. During the last 18 months the group has examined the effects of digitisation on the realisation of children’s rights and formulated recommendations for a child-centered implementation. Building on international and European legal instruments, the text provides comprehensive guidelines for action by European governments.
The digital environment shapes children’s lives in many ways, creating opportunities and risks to their well-being and enjoyment of human rights. Governments are recommended to review their legislation, policies and practices to ensure that these adequately address the full range of the rights of the child. States should also ensure that business enterprises and other key partners meet their human rights responsibilities and are held accountable in case of abuses.
Poor access to the digital environment may affect the ability of children to fully exercise their human rights. States should ensure that children have adequate, affordable and secure access to devices, connectivity and content specifically intended for children; in dedicated public places such access should be rendered free of charge. However, specific measures should be taken to protect infants from premature exposure to the digital environment.
States should guarantee the rights of the child to hold and express any views, no matter if their opinions are received favourably by the State or other stakeholders. As creators and distributors of information, children should be made aware by the States of how to exercise their right to freedom of expression in the digital environment, how to respect the rights and dignity of others, and be informed of the legitimate restrictions on the freedom of expression, for example to prevent intellectual property rights violations and counter incitement to hatred and violence. It is crucial to provide high-quality content tailor-made for children.
States should also take measures to protect the right of children to engage in play, in peaceful assembly and association, as well as to foster participation, inclusion, digital citizenship and resilience both online and offline. States must respect, protect and fulfil the right of the child to privacy and data protection. States should not prohibit in law or practice anonymity, pseudonymity or the usage of encryption technologies for children. Processing of personal data should only be possible with the explicit and informed consent of the children and/or their parents or legal representatives. Profiling of children to analyse or predict their personal preferences should be prohibited by law.
Measures to strengthen digital literacy, including critical understanding by children of the digital environment, and educational resources should be promoted. Given the speed at which new technologies emerge, the guidelines also propose measures to address risks for children in the digital environment. These include regular risk assessments, use of effective systems of age verification, putting in place principles for products/services addressed to or used by children, protecting children from commercial exploitation, age-inappropriate advertising and marketing, harmful content and behaviour, sexual exploitation and abuse, grooming, online recruitment for the commission of crimes, participation in extremist political or religious movements, human trafficking, as well as from bullying, stalking and other forms of harassment. Accessible, affordable and child-friendly avenues to submit complaints and seek remedies, both judicial and non-judicial, should be ensured for children and their representatives.
For the first time, these guidelines provide an instrument under international law to support children’s growing up well in the light of the digital transformation. For stakeholders on all levels - be it in politics, industry, academia or educational practice - the recommendations build a basis to focus on the child and implement appropriate measures to realise protection, empowerment, and participation of children in the digital world.