InfoCommons

ICO acts on student privacy breach • The Register

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 30, 2009
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    • Mick Gorrill, assistant information commissioner at the ICO, said: “The Data Protection Act clearly states that organisations, including universities, must take appropriate measures to ensure that personal information is kept secure.

      “This case reinforces the importance that only those authorised should have access to sensitive personal information such as a student’s disabilities and other health details. Despite the absence of a justifiable reason, the staff member was able to access the information and send it to students and peers which could cause significant distress to individuals concerned.

      “Under the Data Protection Act, organisations must ensure that their policies on the transfer, sharing and publication of personal information are adequate and that staff members are aware and understand those policies. Manchester University recognises the seriousness of this case and has agreed to take immediate remedial action.”

    This is a clear reminder to all data processing outfits to recognise that DPA rules extend to schools, colleges and Universities. The complaint was made to the ICO following the unintentional publication of a spreadsheet which contained the personal data of some 1,755 students. The personal data was emailed in error to some 469 students.Professor Alan D Gilbert, President and Vice-Chancellor of The University of Manchester has had to provide an undertaking to the effect that the University agrees to comply with the seventh data protection principle.

View PDF of the University of Manchester undertaking

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Are there women paedophiles?

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 30, 2009
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    • Paedophiles are invariably thought of as men and they mostly are. But do women commit sexual abuse against children, and if so, why is it rarely discussed?

      Colin never knew innocence as a child. His earliest memories are of his mother sexually abusing him. In the bath, in his bed and in the night. Until he was 13.

Professor Kevin Browne makes this observation:
“”Stranger attacks by women hardly exist, so most female paedophiles are winning the trust of children first and either have a position of care working with children like a babysitter or they are a relative.””

He then goes on to add that the limited focus on women rather than male pedophiles may have a lot to do with the fact that conceptions of predators are socially constituted – in a patriarchal society, there is a perception that young persons should not complain about abuses of trust by women. Returning to my research on morphing of online child abuse – this feature article reminds me of how discussions of predatory behaviour have long been premised on the idea of a man seeking to “groom” children as the following CEOP commercial on You Tube shows.

Protecting children using the internet[1]

Posted in child safety by coda on April 30, 2009

This is a follow up to the post on the Meeting on 5th May here.
The Opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies represents the latest in a series of initiatives introduced by the European Parliament and Council to promote children’s safety and well-being in the information society.

There are a number of aspects in the Opinion that interest me. For example, the Opinion
recommends an international partnership approach which encourages information sharing amongst various stakeholders, including governments, law enforcement, financial institutions, child welfare and support organisations, Hotlines and information services providers. In addition to multi-agency information sharing, increasing public awareness of the scale and types of violence against children and greater use of reporting mechanisms are seen as an important part of the governance strategy. The meeting on the 5th May needs to be regarded as part of a general attempt to provide a framework for the development of a governance model that can be used by stakeholders across the world.

The Committee is clearly aware that considerable work is still needed in harmonising legal rules on child abuse and sexual exploitation amongst member states. Not surprisingly, the Committee advocates the use of the political platform to enhancing cooperation amongst governments and stakeholders in promoting initiatives reducing the number of sites hosting illegal or inappropriate content relating to child sexual abuse.

What are the “harms” identified by the Committee? Essentially, they involve ‘contact’, ‘content’ and ‘computer misuse’ risks:

a) Direct harm, as victims of sexual abuse documented through photographs, films or audio files and distributed online (child abuse material).

b) A perpetuation of victims’ sexual abuse by the repeated viewing of the records of their abuse due to widespread online distribution and global availability.

c) Direct contact by predators who will befriend them in order to commit sexual abuse (“grooming”).

d) Victims of bullying in the online environment (“cyber-bullying”).

The Committee has also taken on board the concerns raised by the Internet Watch Foundation in its 2007-8 Report. Many of the calls for practical measures seem to be prompted by the statistics gleaned from the IWF Report:
a. 2755 child sexual abuse websites hosted internationally during 2007;
b. 80% of these websites are commercial operations; and
c. the transborder characteristics which make detection, investigation and prosecution complex and costly.

The 2008 Report should also be consulted. The BBC provides a potted account of the report.
Some interesting points from the Opinion:
1. The United States has been identified as one of the primary sources for “the regional hosting of child sexual abuse networks suggests the majority of this content is hosted in the US”. I am a little puzzled why this has become an issue given the cooperation between the US and the EU in such matters.

2. “ Lack of international efforts by domain name registries to de-register domains advocating the sexual abuse of children or providing access to such content.”

3. There are some lingering issues in terms of substantive harmonisation of the laws amongst Member States. Implementation and enforcement of the Council of Europe Cybercrime Convention at National level on issues like what constitutes “child sexual abuse” material and the relevant “age” group for the purposes of protecting victims of child sexual abuse material will need to be re-visited. The Committee notes:

“2.7 Although certain Europe-wide standards have been established, clarifying legal issues through various recommendations and directives, it should be established whether this data has been converted into practice throughout member states.
2.8 “Harmful” content refers to content that parents, teachers and other adults consider to be potentially harmful for children. Definitions of such content vary across countries and cultures, and can range from pornography and violence to racism, xenophobia, hate speech and music, self-mutilation, anorexia and suicide sites. As such, the EESC acknowledges it is difficult to establish international partnerships regarding such material but that national efforts could be made to raise awareness of tools, methods and technologies to protect children from exposure to it.”

2.12 However the EESC would ask for definitions and legal clarifications in respect of the words “harmful” and “conduct”, particularly considering transposition into national law. Further clarification is also required on the role of Hotlines, which do not investigate suspects and do not have the necessary powers to do so”

Internet Safety 04/30/2009 (p.m.)

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 30, 2009

Posted from Diigo.

Protecting children using the internet

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 30, 2009

Some background information:
Last year, the Council decided to consult the European Economic and Social Committee, under Article
153 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, on the Proposal for a Decision of the European Parliament and of the Council establishing a multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies. This program continues very much in the vein of the Safer Internet (1999-2004)and Safer Internet Plus (2005-8) programmes.

The program has four key areas for action:

a) reducing illegal content and tackling harmful conducts online,
b) promoting a safer online environment,
c) ensuring public awareness,
d) establishing a knowledge base.

The meeting on 5th May will hear views from a range of stakeholders. Reading the Opinion, I am reminded of Anne Colliers’ feature on Technopanics. Anne uses the current sexting panic to illustrate society’s ambivalent attitude towards technology and parental concerns about the impact of technology on the moral well-being of children. Her central argument appears to be that the conflation of panics with concerns can prove to be counterproductive. As she observes:
“”But why are technopanics bad, if there’s a chance they’ll scare people into safe behavior?” you might ask. For one thing because the Internet is ubiquitous, here to stay, a tool of participatory culture and democracy, and youth are its most active, fluent users – its drivers, in many ways. Young people aren’t scared of technology. They know all the workarounds if we get scared and try to ban the Net from their lives. They can easily go “underground” (away from home, at friends’ houses, public hot spots, using friends’ very mobile connected devices, from smartphones to music and game players), which can actually put them at greater risk, because when they’re in stealth mode, we’re no longer in the equation, and they need us as backup in their online as well as offline lives.”

In short- moral panics lead to skewing public policy and debates. Anne adds further:

“And there are macro-level, national and global, reasons why panics are bad. Here’s a list, a draft for which your comments and additions are welcome. Technopanics are bad because they…

  • Cause fear, which interferes with parent-child communication, which in turn puts kids at greater risk.
  • Cause schools to fear and block digital media when they need to be teaching constructive use, employing social-technology devices and teaching new media literacy and citizenship throughout the curriculum.
  • Turn schools into barriers rather than contributors to young people’s constructive use.
  • Increase the irrelevancy of school to active young social-technology users via the sequestering or banning of educational technology and hamstringing some of the most spirited and innovative educators.
  • Distract parents, educators, policymakers from real risks – including, for example, child-pornography laws that do not cover situations where minors can simultaneously be victim and “perpetrator” and, tragically, become registered sex offenders in cases where there was no criminal intent (e.g., see this).
  • Reduce the competitiveness of US education among developed countries already effectively employing educational technology and social media in schools (for an international view, see Joan Ganz Cooney Center/Sesame Workshop’s “Pockets of Potential: Using Mobile Technologies to Promote Children’s Learning”).
  • Reduce the competitiveness of US technology and media businesses practicing good corporate citizenship where youth online safety is concerned.
  • Lead to bad legislation, which aggravates above outcomes and takes the focus off areas where good laws on the books can be made relevant to current technology use.
  • Widen the participation gap for youth – technopanics are barriers for children and teens to full, constructive participation in participatory culture and democracy.”
  • I think this is something that will become a feature of public debates. Many of the participants attending the presentation will no doubt steer clear of technopanics – but something continues to trouble me as I read the document prepared for the Meeting on 5th May. I think that technopanics lead to 2 other problems not dealt with by Anne (which merits a separate post): age discrimination and privacy.

    Internet Safety 04/30/2009 (a.m.)

    Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 30, 2009

    Posted from Diigo. The rest of Ad4dcss/Digital Citizenship group favorite links are here.

    Sexting and common sense | IndyStar.com | The Indianapolis Star

    Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 29, 2009
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      • I am sure that Vermonters don’t like the idea of teens sending sexy pictures from one phone to another. Nor do Ohio and Utah parents want their kids using cell phone minutes to bare their bodies with their buddies.

        Nevertheless, their state legislatures are among the first trying to sensibly ratchet down the penalties for sexting. They are backing away from laws that currently treat a teenager with a cell phone the same way they treat a child pornographer. They know there’s a difference between truly dreadful judgment and a felony.

    Pew Research Center: Digital Footprints: Online Identity Management and Search in the Age of Transparency

    Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 29, 2009
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      • The vast array of data points that make up "personal information" in the age of online media are nearly impossible to quantify or neatly define. Name, address, and phone number are just the basics in a world where voluntarily posting self-authored content such as text, photos, and video has become a cornerstone of engagement in the era of the participatory Web.

        The more content we contribute voluntarily to the public or semi-public corners of the Web, the more we are not only findable, but also knowable.

    Managing Your Identity Online – 10/15/2007 – netConnect

    Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 29, 2009
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      • MySpace, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 tools led TIME to name you, yes, you, 2006 Person of the Year. With such notoriety, you might want to see what your online identity says about you. What do potential employers and friends find when they google you? When was the last time you googled yourself? What impression do your MySpace profile and YouTube videos leave? Your blog? What do other people say about you? How much control do you have over what is written about you on the web?
      • Until social networking services gained wide adoption, there was very little content posted online by and about most people. Consequently, it was seldom that you would hear about potential employers googling a prospective employee. Unless they were hiring a web developer, there was little chance they would find anything.
      • Many people share the same name. People frequently pick the wrong number out of the phonebook when faced with a lengthy list of John Smiths from the same town, and this issue is only magnified online.

        If your name is John Smith and someone googles you, it’s not unlikely that the googler can mistakenly think certain information discovered (divorce, etc.) is yours. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there were a method to explain which John Smith you are? Conversely, when people google you, will they find all of the articles you have published, or will they be overwhelmed by your doppelgangers’ MySpace pages?

    Managing Your Identity Online – 10/15/2007 – netConnect

    Posted in Uncategorized by coda on April 29, 2009
    • tags: no_tag

      • MySpace, Facebook, and other Web 2.0 tools led TIME to name you, yes, you, 2006 Person of the Year. With such notoriety, you might want to see what your online identity says about you. What do potential employers and friends find when they google you? When was the last time you googled yourself? What impression do your MySpace profile and YouTube videos leave? Your blog? What do other people say about you? How much control do you have over what is written about you on the web?
      • Until social networking services gained wide adoption, there was very little content posted online by and about most people. Consequently, it was seldom that you would hear about potential employers googling a prospective employee. Unless they were hiring a web developer, there was little chance they would find anything.
      • Many people share the same name. People frequently pick the wrong number out of the phonebook when faced with a lengthy list of John Smiths from the same town, and this issue is only magnified online.

        If your name is John Smith and someone googles you, it’s not unlikely that the googler can mistakenly think certain information discovered (divorce, etc.) is yours. Wouldn’t it be helpful if there were a method to explain which John Smith you are? Conversely, when people google you, will they find all of the articles you have published, or will they be overwhelmed by your doppelgangers’ MySpace pages?

    Who am I in cyberspace?