The Call to Action for Increased Online Safety
The internet is the fastest growing communications medium in history. It has made our lives quicker, easier, entertaining, and more connected than ever before. With all these conveniences also comes increased risk. The online world as we know it was not built for safety – it was built for speed. These were the sentiments of Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety Commissioner who gave the keynote at this years’ G7 Safety Tech summit. These growing concerns were addressed by the G7 leaders, all signing a declaration consisting of a series of measures on how to tackle the global challenge of online safety.
The bold vision highlights the importance of online organizations having systems in place to reduce harmful and illegal activity while prioritizing the protection of our most vulnerable, our children. To move forward in creating a more secure online ecosystem, safety must be a core design feature and not an afterthought to be tacked on. We are facing a pivotal intersection between safety by design and the safety tech industry as the key to a safer internet.
How To Define Harmful Online Content?
Harmful online content covers a broad range of inappropriate to illegal activities which cause a person distress or harm. The impact of these risks often has a ripple effect that can be felt individually but nationally, and even globally as well. Harmful online content includes:
- Terrorism or extremism
- Self-harm or suicide
- Online abuse or threats
- Online bullying or harassment
- Child sexual coercion or abuse
What Can Be Done?
The solution is not a one size fits all situation, it is a very layered and multifaceted one that will take the work of many to create a safer online world. The cooperation of everyone is needed as safety is not just about one of us, it is about all of us. People, government, and the tech community all need to work together if there’s going to be change.
To help meet the goals set out by the G7 countries there are three key areas to be addressed: Clear guidelines, realistic goals, and support.
Governments need to articulate clear guidelines outlining the goals and steps needed to create a safer online experience. For the safety technology market to develop the innovative solutions needed to tackle the issue at hand, they will need to understand what regulatory compliance they will require. Regulations need to lay out what good compliance looks like allowing both safety tech and platform companies to invest in new safety competencies with confidence.
Creating a safer online world is an ambitious goal for all the G7 countries. These objectives must be realistic and include working with all stakeholders involved: government, tech companies and citizens. The goals are very outcome-focused but need to be balanced by the current technology costs and capabilities in order to be successful.
Support to Tech Industries
Governments need to give practical support to encourage development of safety policy objectives within the safety tech industry. Challenge or Innovation funding, government programs covering online safety and demanding safety features in government IT systems are just a few ways the technology sector can be assisted.
The UK is a current government that has already established many support measures:
These are all examples that can be modelled by the other G7 countries as they look to meet the goals set by the digital and technology declaration measures.
How Can the Tech Industry Help?
How can the tech industry help to make the online world a more secure place? Safety by design – build safety in, make it a core design feature so we can build a net of prevention. Focusing on solutions to help combat the problem proactively instead of tackling it afterwards. The idea to prevent the preventable when it comes to harmful online content and threats needs to shift from an afterthought to a key element of design.
Netsweeper Meeting the Call to Action
For over 20 years, Netsweeper has been offering our technological expertise to help identify and block criminal web pages with a solution that can help countries manage the risk the internet brings to their citizens. Our technology ensures compliance with regulations, defend against web-based threats, and help deliver a safe internet experience for users.
Online safety can be addressed country-wide with real-time internet content filtering, and web threat management to mitigate radicalization, CSAM, and scams, protecting our most vulnerable.
To find out more about how Netsweeper can help manage online risk and ensure internet safety:
- Netsweeper Countrywide Filtering – Control Internet Content and Lost Tax Revenue Video
- Countrywide Internet Regulatory Compliance Solution Brief
What the web of the future looks like is unknown, but now is the time to start to actively shape what we want it to be. The steps are being laid as global awareness increases, governments are making commitments to change, and the safety tech sector has the ability to develop the protection technology. The issue of online safety, if faced by all of us, can help create an internet where speed and safety are equal for every user.