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INHOPE 2013 | Facts, Figures and Trends - Five Infographics that put the fight against Online Child Sexual Abuse in perspective

Amsterdam, 16 April 2014

Map of the INHOPE network

CSAM reports and exploited Internet services

Profiles of the victims

Non-commercial Hosting

Commercial hosting

Notice and Takedown

For more details, please see the official document here



Online child pornography-related reports sent to Safernet.ro recorded a 30% increase in 2013

Bucharest, 11 February 2014

Safernet.ro Hotline marks the Safer Internet Day, an initiative which mainly aims to promote a more responsible, safer use of the Internet especially among children and youth. Launched in 2003, the event is celebrated over 60 countries worldwide in February and is being held with the support of the European Commission.

This year’s theme of Safer Internet Day - „Let’s create a better Internet together!”, points out the importance of a strong cooperation among all stakeholders – children, youth, parents, professors, companies and politicians – in order to create a better online environment, with an enhanced level of safety. In Romania, the event is organized and promoted, starting with 2008 by Sigur.infor consortium, comprising Save the Children Romania, FOCUS – Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children and Positive Media.

„We are all responsible to keeping safe all those embodying our future, in all the environments they develop. And as the online environment becomes more and more important in our children’s and youth’s lives, it is our priority to cooperate for creating a cleaner and safer Internet for their development”, stated Mihaela Geoana, FOCUS President.

Safernet.ro, the hotline developed by FOCUS within Sigur.Info project, to which reports on online illegal or dangerous content for children are being transmitted, has recorded significant progress in terms of the number of reports received with each passing year. Thus, in 2013, Safernet.ro received an overall number of 1.300 reports, a roughly 35% increase as to 2012 and almost 138% compared to 2011. Moreover, the number of valid reports on online child pornography content increased with 30% as compared to 2012, and almost 240% compared to 2011.

As for the content reported to Safernet.ro last year, 87% of the valid reports refer to online child pornography, 10% social networks and 3% adult pornography accesible to children. Statistics on the origin of reported content and websites indicate that 36% of the content is hosted in Romania, 24% in Canada, 13% in USA, 9% in Holland, whereas the remainder results from Russia, Ukraine, France and others. Moreover, of the overall reports received by Safernet.ro in 2013, about 58% were redirected to another INHOPE hotline (International Association of Internet Hotlines), 30% were transmitted to the Romanian Police, 9% to the content owners and 3% to the National Authority for Communications Management and Regulation (ANCOM).

Safernet.ro marks this year’s edition of Safer Internet Day with a contest launched on the official Facebook page – „The Internet is not Child’s Play” – at the end of which Safernet fans will be awarded an e-book reader. Moreover, Safernet.ro launches a video spot „What were you doing when you were 7?”, by which it incites the public to remember the childhood years, in order to raise awareness on children’s vulnerability nowadays, who use the Internet without parents’ surveillance.

For more information, check www.safernet.ro website and our Facebook page www.facebook.com/safernet

About Safernet

The Safernet.ro Hotline represents the reporting tool developed by the Focus association within the Sigur. Info project, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the consortium made up of “Salvati Copiii”, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. Launched on the Safer Internet Day, in 2010, the civil contact point Safernet.ro receives and operates the reports related to materials or any other illegal or harmful content for children in the online environment.


Best Practices to Help File Hosting and File Sharing Companies Fight the Distribution of Child Sexual Exploitation Content

September 2013

The Asia Pacific Financial Coalition against Child Pornography (APAC-FCACP) recently completed the paper entitled "Best Practices to Help File Hosting and File Sharing Companies Fight the Distribution of Child Sexual Exploitation Content".

Briefly, file sharing and hosting companies are encouraged to take a series of precautions to help ensure that child sexual exploitation content is not stored, hosted, reproduced or distributed by users of their services. Among others, the report addresses the following recommendations:

  • The company’s User Agreement should clearly state that any user or account offering illegal content and/or services violates the company’s Terms and Conditions or Policies and will be subject to immediate enforcement action and disclosure to appropriate law enforcement authorities and/or the relevant reporting/hotline process
  • The company should have a formal policy and procedure for reviewing abuse reports of potential child sexual exploitation content. Content confirmed as child sexual exploitation material that is publicly shared should be flagged and further banned from being publicly shared through the company’s platform or service
  • Companies should establish processes to manage receiving abuse reports of users of their service storing, hosting or sharing suspected child sexual exploitation content. A process should be implemented to investigate these types of reports and collect, preserve and report relevant information through the appropriate channel based on applicable laws or process for the location of the company.
  • The company should comply with all applicable laws based on the jurisdiction where the company is located, the location of data, or the location of users. The company is encouraged to share with law enforcement its legal compliance process, procedures, guidelines and contact information.
  • Thorn, a group fighting child sexual exploitation, developed a “Sound Practices Guide to Fight Child Sexual Exploitation Online.” The Guide, which was published in 2013 for the benefit of technology companies, offered the following advice: “Activate your user base to become a second set of eyes and ears for your service. Make it easy for users to flag and report exploitative content or behavior. This should include educating your users about forms of exploitation, the warning signs and making it easy across platforms to report photos, links, users, ads and other suspicious behavior
  • Usually advice is given to the potential customer of file sharing services to perform due diligence before they commit to sending their data to a service provider. By the same token, it behooves the file sharing/hosting company to gather background on prospective customers. As noted by the PCI Security Standards Council of the financial industry, without such knowledge the file sharing company may not be aware of “issues within the client environment that could impact their service provision”.
  • Both for Internet Service Providers and file sharing companies, data retention and preservation are critical functions in the fight against child pornography. File sharing companies should strongly consider logging IP’s and discouraging/preventing a customer’s use of proxies to log onto a company’s URL.

For more details, please see the official document here



INHOPE Annual Report 2012: 'Making a real difference'

Amsterdam, 22 May 2013

Today, INHOPE - The International Association of Internet Hotlines released its Annual Report for the year 2012, thoroughly documenting its efforts in the global fight against online child sexual abuse. Entitled 'Making a real difference', the report comprises a significant set of statistical results extracted from INHOPE's unique database, the INHOPE Report Management System (IHRMS).

''Within our network, we are passionate about making the Internet a better and a safer place. We are united in combatting the worst form of abuse online, a violation of human rights on the most vulnerable of our citizens, our children. What is commonly referred to as child pornography is nothing other than the sexual abuse of real children. And children are victimised again and again every time their images are viewed online. It goes without saying that such horrendous, borderless crime needs cross-border cooperation to fight it.'' — Agnese Krike, INHOPE's new President

The Annual Report also features case studies and success stories from around the world and across the network which have led to the arrest of offenders and the identification of victims. In addition, it highlights the strong partnerships in place with law enforcement and key industry players to speed up the removal of child sexual abuse material from the Internet while providing financial transparency and disclosing what was accomplished with the funds received.

The report includes a foreword by Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. Referring to the EU Strategy for a Better Internet for Kids, Neelie Kroes said: ''The INHOPE network and its member hotlines are instrumental in helping deliver on that fourth pillar [ed. combat child sexual abuse material online and child sexual exploitation]. Set up by the Safer Internet Programme, they are reporting points where digital citizens can report illegal content. INHOPE pool and analyse the unique data they collect to provide actionable intelligence and ensure that child sexual abuse material is taken down quickly and effectively.''

In 2012:

  • The INHOPE network was constituted of 43 hotlines and present in 37 countries.
  • 150 analysts processed 1,059,758 reports of illegal content.
  • 37,404 reports were assessed to contain unique URLs of child sexual abuse material.
  • 96% was reported to law enforcement within a day.
  • 88% was removed from the Internet within a week.

Download the report here

INHOPE press release here

About INHOPE

INHOPE is an active, collaborative and influential network of 43 hotlines in 37 countries worldwide, committed to stamping out child sexual abuse from the Internet.

INHOPE was founded in 1999 under the European Commission Safer Internet Programme.

INHOPE Hotlines offer the public a way of anonymously reporting Internet material including child sexual abuse material they suspect to be illegal.

INHOPE members operate a public hotline to receive complaints about apparent illegal content, they then assess the content in accordance with their national laws and if they consider it to be illegal they trace the material to a hosting country. If the content is illegal in the hosting country then the national Hotline takes steps to have the material ‘taken down’ in consultation with their law enforcement partners.


INHOPE 2012 | Facts, Figures and Trends - Five Infographics that put the fight against Online Child Sexual Abuse in perspective

Amsterdam, 9 April 2013

2012 has seen impressive advances in the time taken to remove images and videos of children being sexually abused online. Whereas in the past, evidence of these horrific crimes may have remained online for many months, occasionally years, INHOPE can now report that in the majority of instances the content is taken down in days and sometimes just hours.

The International Association of Internet Hotlines took the wraps off a set of infographics featuring statistics for the year 2012 and highlighting key findings.

A vital element of the work undertaken by INHOPE is precisely the collation of accurate and timely statistics from its network – 43 member hotlines in 37 countries worldwide. This enables INHOPE to build a global picture of the distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) and show the magnitude of the problem. INHOPE statistics are gathered via the INHOPE Report Management System (IHRMS), a unique database used by hotlines to record and forward reports of CSAM.

2012: Online child sexual abuse material ‘taken down’ quickly

2012 has seen impressive advances in the time taken to remove images and videos of children being sexually abused online. Whereas in the past, evidence of these horrific crimes may have remained online for many months, occasionally years, INHOPE can now report that in the majority of instances the content is taken down in days and sometimes just hours.

This hasn’t happened by chance. A concerted effort by all 43 INHOPE Hotlines, their law enforcement partners and internet companies has made this huge difference. Without everyone playing their part in a professional and pragmatic way, this outcome would never have been thought possible.

"If you stumble across something you believe to be illegal you can anonymously report it to your national Hotline and our Members and their law enforcement partners will endeavour to have it removed by the hosting company. And if you have a tablet or a smartphone, you can download our specifically designed INHOPE mobile App to make your reports directly from your mobile device. And we are on the right track. Closer cooperation with ISPs and law enforcement have resulted in images of child sexual abuse being taken down more quickly and effectively than ever." — Peter Robbins, INHOPE's Executive Director

Infographic 1: Map of the INHOPE network, Illegal Content and Volume Stats

This infographic shows the total of all reports recorded by INHOPE Member Hotlines at over 1,000,000. These reports include a vast spectrum of complaints such as terrorism, racism, pornography available to minors, peer to peer content, content posted to social media services, newsgroups and many more online channels. Most of the 43 Hotlines offer a variety of remits to the public based on national agreements. These range from child sexual abuse material, to racism, to terrorism to pornography publicly available to minors and more.

All INHOPE Members record the total number of reports they receive from the public irrespective of whether the content is illegal or not. The importance of this data is that it reveals the volume of complaints handled by Hotlines. To put this into context, if a video is reported to a Hotline, an Analyst must view its full duration before determining its legality. This is a very time consuming activity which does not always translate into a decision that the material is illegal.

Infographic 2: Reports and Victims

This infographic relates to the worst of the worst area, Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). There are no grey areas here. Many people find it difficult to imagine pornographic images of children, and therefore do not understand what is meant by "child pornography". In many countries this is referred to as "Child Sexual Abuse Material" (CSAM) to reinforce that behind images of child pornography, there is sexual abuse of real children.

The data provided in this infographic is the result of considerable, substantiated quality assessments and fine judgments and refer to unique images and videos, not duplicated images.

A worrying and developing trend is the increasing incidence of very young children including babies as victims.

Infographic 3: Hosting

This infographic is a comparison in hosting trends between North America and Europe. Hosting patterns change over time depending on the popularity of technological services provided within countries. Cloud services or file hosting sites also known as cyber lockers are a favourite way for consumers to store and share their pictures and videos with friends and families. Regrettably these services are sometimes exploited by criminals who randomly distribute links to child sexual abuse material. INHOPE Members are tackling this trend by working in partnership with legitimate hosting businesses to have the material removed as quickly as possible. The infographic also shows the geographical span of INHOPE Members with 92% of confirmed child sexual abuse material traced to services covered by the INHOPE network.

Infographic 4: Commercial vs. non-commercial

Commercial refers to websites hosting or giving access to Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) which require payment for furtheraccess. Non-Commercial refers to free access.

FYI, those charts are of significant importance to us, especially in the light of our work with the European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC). The EFC’s mission is to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal/ criminal operations.

Infographic 5: Notice and takedown

This is the process where illegal content is removed from the Internet. It clearly shows that the reported CSAM content is in the vast majority of cases removed within a week. The time spans may be longer in duration when dealing with foreign entities and because of time zone differences.


SAFER INTERNET DAY 2013: "CONNECT WITH RESPECT"

Brussels, 5 February 2013

On 5th February, Safer Internet Day 2013, the Commission has presented the results of joint work of media, technology, telecoms and online companies undertaken since their December 2011 commitment to make the internet a better and safer place for kids (see IP/11/1485).

29 leading companies involved in this self-regulatory exercise have reported on how they will collectively set a new benchmark for child protection online. As a result of their commitments, all devices (including smartphones, tablets, computers and games consoles) could be equipped with parental control tools and screens with simple tools for users to report harmful content and contact. The industry is also working to ensure that parents are aware of, and make use of, these tools. In addition, best practices have been established in terms of age-appropriate privacy settings and effective take down of child abuse material. Also very promising is the commitments received on technology tools to promote wider use of content classification. Commitments will be deployed during 2013.

The average age for first going online in Europe is seven. Safer Internet Day 2013 is all about online rights and responsibilities, to encourage people online of all ages to "Connect with Respect". Events are taking place across the EU and worldwide, and, as of 2014, the EU and US will 'celebrate' Safer Internet Day" on the same day.

European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said „I am very happy that these leading companies have responded to the call and worked together across sectors to produce concrete results. Child protection should get Board level attention. More is needed. I look forward to implementation in 2013 and to seeing a new benchmark emerging in the on-line industry: child protection by default.”

Company statements, published today on the Digital Agenda website, show that the coalition has delivered concrete improvements for children:

Tools to report online abuse or bullying are gradually becoming universal. Some companies are going one step further and cooperating with hotlines, for instance Telefónica, Vodafone, KPN's Meldknop or applications like SecondFriend available on Google. Facebook has developed the Support Dashboard, which enables staff to better follow up on reports of abuse or content which violates Facebook community standards and for users to see what action is being taken in response.

Parental control tools are now available across more products (computers, tablets, smartphones games devices, as well as connected TV sets) and services, with more coming in 2013. For example France Telecom is developing a tool for tablets and smart phones, and parental controls will be in all of LG's mobile devices as of April this year. A Commission study confirms this wider availability but notes that while tools are good at blocking pornographic materials, there has been limited progress in blocking violent, racist or other harmful content. Companies are already providing information about their tools or implementing them by active choice, or by default (Microsoft or Nintendo). Companies including France Telecom, Mediaset, TeliaSonera, Tuenti and Telecom Italia are also planning information campaigns for parents.

Content ratings for apps, online videos and films now widely used based on companies' own rating systems, or those of national and international bodies. A Technical Task Force involving companies (including Deutsche Telekom, Mediaset, Nokia, Opera, Orange, RIM, Telefónica, Vodafone), content rating agencies and technical experts will work in 2013 to align content systems and ensure that devices will be able to determine the age-classification of materials.

The coalition has defined and shared best practices for age-appropriate privacy settings. All companies are giving up to date information about their privacy settings which will soon be searchable so that parents, teachers and children can make better decisions about their privacy on line. Companies have also committed to make available age-appropriate privacy settings and to offer clear and understandable information in language that is appropriate for a younger audience.

The industry is open about what it does to filter out child sexual abuse material before it is reported, and to take down offensive materials. It is committed to improving dialogue and links with abuse report hotlines and law enforcement bodies. In 2012 hotlines to report sexual abuse materials have become more efficient in monitoring the notice and take down process. Law enforcement bodies have speeded up their response time in major hosting countries.

In 2013, the Commission will undertake further work to support the coalition and its individual members by

  • Setting up a Corporate Responsibility platform to monitor the results of the coalition and merge it with other self-regulatory streams.
  • Supporting the development of browser buttons for reports and links to helplines. Funding the hosting of a database of privacy settings for children run by Safer Internet Centres (via the existing Safer Internet Programme, and in proposed Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) digital services).
  • Support industry research and innovation on interoperability of content classification schemes (from Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) and & Horizon 2020)
  • Promote the development of age recognition services, building on the technical possibilities of EU-wide recognisable electronic identity cards as enabled by the draft legislation on eID.
  • Investing in research into tools and technologies to detect child abuse content (in Horizon 2020).

Keeping children safe online is a key commitment of the Digital Agenda for Europe and is an important part of the Commission's wider efforts to ensure trust and security online. In the coming days, the Commission will present an EU Cyber Security Strategy and a legislative proposal on Network and Information Security to ensure a secure and trustworthy digital environment while promoting and protecting fundamental rights and EU core values.

Background

On 2 May 2012 the Commission adopted the Communication for a "Strategy for a Better Internet for Children", highlighting actions around four main goals.

38% of 9 to 12 year olds who are online say they have a social networking profile, in spite of age restrictions. More than 30% of children who go online do so from a mobile device and 26% via game consoles. 4 in 10 children report having encountered risks online such as cyber-bullying, being exposed to user-generated content promoting anorexia or self-harm or misuse of their personal data.

Members of the Coalition: Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, France Telecom-Orange, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global*, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog*, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Research in Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Skyrock, Stardoll, Sulake, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi, Vodafone.

* has not yet reported its concrete progress.

Useful links

Safer Internet:

Links to company statements and other key documents

Digital Agenda website

Neelie Kroes' website

Follow Neelie Kroes on Twitter

http://www.saferinternetday.org

Twitter hashtags: #SID2013 and #betterinternet4kids

Contacts:

Linda Cain (+32 2 299 90 19)

Ryan Heath (+32 2 296 17 16)


SAFERNET.RO : THE NUMBER OF VALID REPORTS RELATED TO HARMFUL ONLINE CONTENT FOR CHILDREN HAS TRIPLED IN 2012

Bucharest, 5 February 2013

The Safernet.ro Hotline announces the 10th edition celebration of Safer Internet Day, an initiative which aims at promoting a safe and responsible use of the Internet by children and teenagers; over 65 countries across the world have joined this initiative.

Safer Internet Day is celebrated annually, in February, being supported by the European Commission. In Romania, the event is organized and promoted by the Sigur.Info consortium, made up of the organization Salvati Copiii Romania, Focus – Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children and Positive Media.

This year’s theme for Safer Internet Day, “Connect with Respect!”, emphasizes the need to adopt “the netiquette” - rules of behaviour for Internet use - generally agreed for surfing on the internet, so that the online environment become safer for all its users, no matter age.

On the occasion of Safer Internet Day, the Safernet.ro Hotline, developed by the FOCUS association within the Sigur.info project, launches a contest on the official Facebook page inviting the public to answer, on a weekly basis, to a question regarding the safety of children on the Internet. The contest will last until March 3rd and the prizes awarded weekly will consist in books and DVDs for children, a pleasant alternative to surfing excessively on the Internet.

The hotline has been available to the public for reporting sites or any other type of illegal and harmful content for children since 2010, becoming increasingly used each year. Thus, the number of reports recorded in 2012 has tripled since 2011. Of the overall number of reports, the percentage of the valid report received by the Hotline has increased in the same period from 9,8% in 2010, to 23,8% in 2011, reaching 34,7% in 2012.

The statistics indicate that from February 2010 to December 2012, Safernet. ro received an overall number of 2640 reports, of which 83% relate to illegal content (62% representing child pornography and 21% adult pornography accessible to children), 4% represented cyber-bullying and 13% related to nudity, spam and other type of harmful content.

As for the origin of the sites and materials reported in 2012, about 16% of the illegal content reported was hosted in Romania, 28% in USA, 3% in Russia and 8% in other countries, such as Netherlands, Sweden, Germany or Canada.

Nevertheless, of the overall number of reports, about 22, 7% had been redirected by Safernet.ro to the Romanian Police, 1, 5% to the National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications and roughly 9, 4% to another INHOPE member.

For more information, check the website www.safernet.ro

About Safernet

The Safernet.ro Hotline represents the reporting tool developed by the Focus association within the Sigur. Info project, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the consortium made up of “Salvati Copiii”, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. Launched on the Safer Internet Day, in 2010, the civil contact point Safernet.ro receives and operates the reports related to materials or any other illegal or harmful content for children in the online environment.


48 COUNTRIES WORLDWIDE JOIN FORCES TO FIGHT CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE ONLINE

Bruxelles, 4 December 2012

On 5 December, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström together with US Attorney General Eric Holder will launch a Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online. The initiative aims to unite decision-makers all around the world to better identify and assist victims and to prosecute the perpetrators. Participants at the launch include Ministers and high-level officials from 27 EU Member States, who are also joined by 21 countries outside the EU (Albania, Australia, Cambodia, Croatia, Georgia, Ghana, Japan, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, the Philippines, Serbia, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States of America, and Vietnam).

The countries of the alliance are committing themselves to a number of policy targets and goals. Thanks to increased international cooperation, the fight against child sexual abuse online will therefore be more effective.

"Behind every child abuse image is an abused child, an exploited and helpless victim. When these images are circulated online, they can live on forever. Our responsibility is to protect children wherever they live and to bring criminals to justice wherever they operate. The only way to achieve this is to team up for more intensive and better coordinated action worldwide", said Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström.

“This international initiative will strengthen our mutual resources to bring more perpetrators to justice, identify more victims of child sexual abuse, and ensure that they receive our help and support,” said Attorney General Holder. “Through this global alliance we can build on the success of previous cross-border police operations that have dismantled international pedophile networks and safeguard more of the world’s children.”

It is estimated that more than one million images of children subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation are currently online. According to UNODC 50, 000 new child abuse images are added each year.

No country can fight this horrible phenomenon alone, as the criminal networks behind it know no boundaries and exploit the lack of information exchange and the legal loopholes that exist within and between countries. This is why international cooperation is crucial to effectively investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to better identify and prosecute offenders.

Global Alliance: Greater commitments for better results

Tomorrow at the launching conference, the participating countries will make political commitments to pursue a number of goals, notably:

  • Enhancing efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
  • Enhancing efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
  • Increasing children's awareness of online risks, including the self-production of images and 'grooming' methods used by paedophiles;
  • Reducing the availability of child abuse material online and the re-victimization of children.

Countries would then choose the appropriate action to take at national level to achieve them, and would report regularly.

Background

The EU has made progress on a variety of fronts, not least through ambitious legislation to combat trafficking in Human beings (Directive 2011/36/EU) and the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography (Directive 2011/93/EU). These laws cover the prosecution of offenders, protection of victims and crime prevention.

Europol regularly supports international police operations. In 2011, operation Rescue led to the identification of 779 suspects across the world, 250 were arrested and 252 children safeguarded. Often, investigation of online child abuse is a key lead for dismantling networks of child-abuse perpetrators. The European Cyber Crime Centre (EC3), opening in January 2013 at Europol in The Hague, will have child abuse material online as a main focus. The Commission also supports INHOPE, a network of NGO-run hotlines in EU States that collects reports on child abuse websites so that they could be removed and investigated (Safer Internet Programme).

Yet much more needs to be done, and it has to be done globally. The Global Alliance will keep the fight against child sexual abuse online high on national agendas. This in turn is likely to improve resources dedicated to combating these crimes, legislation and cooperation of national forces worldwide. 48 countries are joining forces now, and more may come once the Global Alliance has been formally launched.

The conference will take place in Brussels on 5 December under the High Patronage of H.M. Queen Paola of Belgium. Experts and practitioners from participating governments, as well as representatives from international organisations and academics will examine the state of the problem and discuss the different policy targets of the Global Alliance. Attending ministers from the participating countries (see MEMO/12/937) will express their endorsement of the Alliance, in the form of a declaration.

Useful Links

Cecilia Malmström's website

Follow Commissioner Malmström on Twitter

DG Home Affairswebsite

Follow DG Home Affairs on Twitter


LAUNCH OF THE EUROPEAN FINANCIAL COALITION

Bruxelles, 26 November 2012

members

Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs and Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol announced the launch a new European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online. The 36-months project co-financed by the European Commission will tackle old and new online commercial distribution practices of child sexual abuse material.

Representatives of law enforcement, civil society and private industry have launched the new European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC).

This initiative, co-financed and supported by the European Commission, aims to fight the sexual exploitation of children online by taking action via the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. It builds on a previous project launched in 2009 which aimed at combating commercial websites facilitating the trade of child abuse material.

Child abuse and its commercial exploitation are heinous crimes against our most vulnerable citizens. We must bring together key players from law enforcement, industry and civil society to halt the shameful trade in child abuse material. This coalition does exactly that", Cecilia Malmström said.

While enormous progress has already been made and the number of traditional commercial websites has decreased, one has witnessed over the past years a migration towards more opaque online environments, such as chat groups or private, peer-to-peer file sharing networks (darknet).

Rob Wainwright, Director of Europol and President of the EFC said: "As the commercial exploitation of child abuse takes new forms and is increasingly difficult to track, law enforcement needs to get a better insight into the payment and ICT capabilities of criminals. That is why cooperating with the private sector and civil society in the framework of such initiatives has become more important than ever."

The new European Financial Coalition will work towards five objectives:

  • Support international law enforcement investigations; wherever possible through cooperation with private stakeholders;
  • Assess & study the commercial child sexual exploitation on the Internet through all kinds of Internet environments, such as hosting services, newsgroups, etc.;
  • Help protect legitimate private business interests from possible misuse of their services perpetrated by criminals with the aim of distributing child sexual abuse content through different information & communication technologies;
  • Empower law enforcement & private companies in counteracting the problem through the delivery of training & sharing of resources;
  • Inform decision makers & raise awareness among the public about the EFC's activities.

The chair of the new European Financial Coalition is held by Europol. The secretariat is hosted by Missing Children Europe in Brussels and led by a Steering Committee composed of representatives of Inhope, MasterCard, Visa Europe, Paypal, Microsoft, Google, Eurojust, the KLPD, and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC).

For further information, please contact:
Delphine Moralis, Deputy-Secretary General, Missing Children Europe
Email: delphine.moralis@missingchildreneurope.eu
Phone: + 32 2 894 74 82

The European Financial Coalition against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Online (EFC) brings together key actors from law enforcement, the private sector and civil society in Europe with the common goal of fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children online. Members of the EFC join forces to take action on the payment and ICT systems that are used to run these illegal operations. For further information, please visit www.europeanfinancialcoalition.eu


REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

Bucharest – July 12, 2012

Within “Sigur.info” project, the Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – FOCUS has the objective to organize a campaign for promoting the internet hotline, Safernet.ro. This is a civil contact point which receives and operates the report referring to online illegal or damaging content for children. The hotline functions according to the partnership concluded with the Romanian Police, National Authority for Management and Regulation in Communications and the Internet Service Providers Association; in respect to the reported content, the hotline mainly operates issues referring to child pornography, adult pornography accessible to children, instruction to discrimination and spamming which may affect children.

The main objective of this request is to find providers of technical assistance services for developing, implementing and assessing the campaign which aims at promoting the internet Hotline www.safernet.ro to the target-group.

For more details download the request for expressions of interest from here (in Romanian).

The expressions of interest must be submitted by 27th of July 2012 17.00.


INTERNET WATCH FOUNDATION DIRECTOR ELECTED INHOPE PRESIDENT

Netherlands – June 18, 2012

Fred Langford, Director of Operations, Technology and Content, has been elected President of INHOPE – the International Association of Internet Hotlines.

“I would like to thank INHOPE members for this opportunity. It is an honor to have been elected INHOPE President. The IWF was a founding member of INHOPE in 1999 and has been fully supportive of the successes achieved since then. Online criminal content transcends national borders so only by forging close working relationships and unifying practices can we speed up removal times and create a safer internet experience for us all.” stated Fred Langford

Fred will serve a term of two years as President of INHOPE.


NETHERLANDS TESTS PHOTODNA – THE FIRST SYSTEM FOR DETECTING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY

Netherlands – June 18, 2012

Netherlands Forensic Institute is the first public authority in the world to have the license for testing and improving PhotoDNA software, developed by Microsoft in 2009.

This program allows users to identify the same photo, even if is there are differences in respect to size or the type of the folder. Created in order to streamline the investigations of the authorities involved in fighting against child pornography, PhotoDNA proves to be a useful tool when comparing or analyzing archives or wide collections of data.

The PhotoDNA is based on extracting a digital print upon which one make connections, in order to verify possible similarities with other photos on the internet. At the time being, PhotoDNA is also used by Facebook and Microsoft wishes to provide this software for free all over the world.


INFORMATIVE SESSION ORGANIZED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH “NICOLAE TITULESCU” SCHOOL IN BUCHAREST

Bucharest – June 3, 2012

The Safernet team organized the second informative session on safe internet usage by children. The target-group: over 120 grade IV students at “Nicolae Titulescu” school, who also participated at the session organized in March.

The session was interactive and the children’s feedback was a positive one. After a short review of “Nicusor’s story in the Endless Forest” (which may be accessed at “Lessons’ section of safernet.ro), children were delighted to answer the questions of the Safernet team regarding how to use internet in a safe and responsible manner.

At the end of the event, there was a prize-giving ceremony for all the 9 winners of the drawing contest on the theme “The Internet – Benefits and dangers”. The prizes comprised of stationery products, T-Shirts and caps imprinted with safernet.ro website. Moreover, all the participants received special fans containing instructions for using the internet in a proper manner, but also the contact data of Safernet.ro hotline, where one may report damaging or illegal content.

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SEMINARS WITH BLOGGERS AND SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERTS

Bucharest – December 2011, February 2012

The Safernet team organized two seminars for bloggers and Social Media experts. The results of the informative campaigns and also the two-year activity of Safernet.ro were presented during these seminars, whose main objective was raising awareness of the online community in Romania. The participants had the opportunity to make suggestions or recommendations to the Safernet team, with a view to improving the services offered by the hotline.

The seminars were streamed live on the Internet, allowing also the public to take part actively in these discussions.

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A NEW COALITION OF LEADING COMPANIES IN THE TECHNOLOGICAL AND MEDIA SECTOR FOR A SAFER INTERNET FOR CHILDREN

Bruxelles – December 1, 2011

28 leading companies reunited to form a new coalition intended to change the internet in a safer and adequate environment for children. The coalition was established by the Commission and its founding members are: Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Orange, Research in Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Sulake, Telefonica, Teliasonera, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi, Vodafone. Facilitating the report of dangerous content, ensuring some confidentiality parameters age-adequate and offering some various opportunities for parental control -reflecting thus the needs of a generation that uses internet from an early age – are only some of the main priorities.

European Commission Vice-president, Neelie Kroes, said: „This new Coalition should provide both children and parents with transparent and consistent protection tools to make the most of the online world. The founding Coalition members are already leaders in children's safety online. Working together we will be setting the pace for the whole industry and have a great basis for fully empowering children online."

The founding Coalition members have agreed a Statement of Purpose agreeing to take action in five areas:

  • Simple and robust reporting tools: easy-to-find and recognizable features on all devices to enable effective reporting and responses to content and contacts that seem harmful to kids;
  • Age-appropriate privacy settings: settings which take account of the needs of different age groups (such settings determine how widely available a user's information is; for example whether contact details or photos are available only to close contacts rather than to the general public);
  • Wider use of content classification: to develop a generally valid approach to age-rating, which could be used across sectors and provide parents with understandable age categories.
  • Wider availability and use of parental control: user-friendly tools actively promoted to achieve the widest possible take-up;
  • Effective takedown of child abuse material: to improve cooperation with law enforcement and hotlines, to take proactive steps to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.

The Coalition is a cooperative voluntary intervention. The Commission's expectation is that solutions developed by the founding members of the Coalition will be embraced by a growing number of companies, and new members will be welcome.

Read the full press release on the European Commission website.

Of the overall number of reports received in Romania by the Safernet.ro Internet Hotline, 38% represent cases of online child pornography, 32% cases of adult pornography accessible to minors and the rest of 30% represents online damaging content for children.

This hotline is the reporting tool developed by FOCUS association within “Sigur.Info”, funded by the European Commission and implemented by the consortium comprised of “Salvati Copiii”, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. The hotline is a civil contact point which receives and operates the reports regarding online damaging or illegal content for children.


ROUND TABLE ON PROMOTING SAFERNET.RO

Bucharest – November 25, 2011

Undoubtedly, both authorities of public sector and private sector need to take joint efforts for Safernet.ro to work most effectively. Starting from this assumption, the Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – FOCUS organized the second round table, entitled “Fighting sexual abuse on children by reporting online illegal or damaging content”.

The event was attended by representatives of public authorities at local or central level and other stakeholders from 5 counties: Prahova, Dambovita, Arges, Teleorman, Giurgiu, Calarasi, Ialomita).

The Safernet.ro hotline is developed by FOCUS, within “sigur.info” project co-funded by European Commission and implemented by the consortium comprised of “Salvati Copiii Romania”, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. The hotline works and operates the reports according to the partnerships concluded with the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, the Ministry of Labor, Family and social Protection – General Direction for Child Protection and the National Authority for Regulations in communications.


ANY CHILD MAY BE A TARGET! MAKE A REPORT!

Bucharest - November 22, 2011

The Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – FOCUS launched the social spot “Any child may be a target! Make a report!”, within the raising-awareness campaign of the Safernet.ro internet hotline.

“React! Enter www.safernet.ro and report online child pornography” is an appeal to action and commitment which FOCUS launches to the general public.

“We wish that every internet user who encounters unsuitable content for children not to get over it, but to report it, because every child involved in pornography means a sexual abused child. Any child surfing the web may be the target of perpetrators who are using the internet to meet and recruit new victims. This is why, it is very important to react and report these situations in order to be investigated” stated Mrs. Mihaela Geoana, FOCUS President.

Starting from the beginning of the year, there were 406 reports referring to online illegal and damaging content for children, 1/3 of the investigated reports had as object child pornography. The cases reported to Safernet.ro were operated according to the cooperation protocols concluded with the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection – General Direction for Child Protection and the National Authority for Administration and Regulation in Communications.

Safernet represents the reporting tool within the project Sigur.info, co-funded by the European Commssion. It was developed by the consortium comprised of Salvati Copiii, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. The hotline is a civil contact point which receives and operates the reports regarding online damaging or illegal content for children.

The Safernet.ro campaign aims at creating a safer online environment for children, given the growth in number of the online pornographic images with children and other illegal (adult pornography accessible to minors, instruction to discriminate, spamming) or damaging content (extreme violence, drug abuse etc).

The social spot “Any child may be a target! Make a report” can be accessed at www.safernet.ro and downloaded from the “Resources” section by all those who wish to join this campaign.

The spot was produced with the support of Media Pozitiv communication agency, by the team comprised of Catalin Stanescu, creative director and Tudor Petremarin, director.

FOCUS – Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children was established in 2007, at the initiative of MRS. Mihaela Geona with funding from ICMEC and the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children. The main objective of the association is to take complementary actions together with the authorities involved in preventing and solving the cases of disappearance and sexual exploitation. Starting with May 2009, FOCUS has launched and operated in Romania 116000- the European number for missing children.

In 2011, FOCUS in partnership with the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police and the General Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Supreme Court has completed the alert system which may be triggered in cases of alarming abductions or disappearances in circumstances which could pose a serious risk for the life of the child concerned.

Moreover, within the „Safer Internet” program, funded by the European Commission, FOCUS has developed a Hotline as a civil contact point for internet users, who will have the possibility to report any type of pedo-pornographic materials or other illegal contents. FOCUS is a full member of the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children (MCE) and INHOPE. At national level, FOCUS is member of the Federation of Nongovernmental Organization for Child (FONPC) and the Federation of the Organizations which Support Volunteering – VOLUM.

For more details, check FOCUS website: www.copiidisparuti.ro or www.safernet.ro


SAFER INTERNET FORUM 2011

Bruxelles - October 2011

Together with other hotlines, Safernet.ro team was invited to take part at the Brussels reunion, organized by the European Commission and the INHOPE workshop. During these meetings, it was emphasized the need for a cooperation between INHOPE hotline members and law enforcement and the stakeholders from private sector for fighting against the dissemination and overgrowth of online damaging materials for children.


REPORTING DAMAGING CONTENT ON THE WEB ENHANCES CHILD PROTECTION

Bucharest – august 19, 2011

The Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – FOCUS in partnership with the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection – the General Direction for Child Protection - organized on Friday, August 19, a round table on the theme: „Fighting sexual abuse on children by reporting the online illegal or damaging content to children”.

The event was attended by representatives of School Inspectorates, General Direction for Social Assistance and Child Protection and prevention departments within Police Inspectorates from Bucharest and Ilfov county.

The main objective of the event was to inform and raise awareness among public authorities regarding the dangers to which children are exposed to and how the authorities may contribute in order to protect them. There is an overriding need for joint efforts from public authorities and private persons in order to encourage and enhance the process of reporting damaging materials for children to the Hotline, especially those engaging sexual abuse.

The activity of the Hotline, www.safernet.ro unfolds in close cooperation with the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police – which is responsible for managing the illegal content, respectively online child pornography – and with the support of the Ministry of Labor, Family and Social Protection – General Directions for Child Protection – which deals with the damaging content.

In the first 6 months of 2011, the Hotline received 210 reports regarding illegal or damaging content, a rise with 62% in comparison with the same period of the previous year. We could take action for 39 reports. In comparison to the same period of the previous year, there was a drop in the number of cases reporting sexual abused children – from 13 in the first 6 months of 2010 to 10 in the first 6 months of 2011; however, the reports referring to photos of abused children doubled on websites hosted in Romania, from 3 images in the first 6 months of 2010 to 6 in the same period of 2001.

Safernet.ro Hotline was established by FOCUS, within “Sigur.info” program, co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by the consortium comprised of “Salvati Copiii Romania”, FOCUS and Positive Media Iasi. The hotline works and operates the reports according to the partnerships concluded with the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police, the Ministry of Labor, Family and social Protection – General Direction for Child Protection and the National Authority for Regulations in Communications.

The round table was organized within the campaign intended to raise awareness on the hotline Safernet.ro. www.Safernet.ro.

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LESSON FOR SAFELY SURFING THE WEB AT LITTLE SCHOOL LONDON

Bucharest - June 20, 2011

At the elementary school “Little London” in Bucharest, FOCUS held a lesson about how to safely surf the web and what are the dangers to which children are exposed to while accessing the internet.
In a very friendly manner, the FOCUS team told the story of the Nicusor in the Endless Forest. There were also held discussions about computers, internet, email and viruses. At the end of the day, we got to the conclusion that is advisable for parents to monitor the content accessed by children on the internet. Moreover, children admitted that the internet means more than games and messenger and that only together with their parents they can discover really interesting and useful things on the internet.

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FOCUS HAS BECOME A FULL MEMBER OF INHOPE

Vilnius, Lithuania - May 18, 2011

Starting with May 18, the Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – Focus has become a full member of the INHOPE organization.
INHOPE was established in 1999 within CE Program “Safer Internet” for fighting against online illegal and damaging content. INHOPE represents and coordinates a global network of 39 internet hotlines, supporting these hotlines with a view to reacting to the reports referring to online illegal content and materials involving sexually abused children. In the last 10 years, INHOPE has gained a significant experience in fighting against online illegal content.

FOCUS representatives presented the Safernet hotline in front of the working group members reunited for expanding the network. As a result of the positive vote of this specialized group, Mr. Adrian Dwyer, as responsible for expanding the INHOPE member network, proposed the General Assembly to grant the quality of full membership to the Romanian Center for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children – FOCUS. The INHOPE General Assembly unanimously voted in favor of FOCUS becoming a full member of the organization.

 


,,Who do you accept?” - A CAMPAIGN TO PREVENT CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ON THE INTERNET

Bucharest, 08 February 2011

The European Union celebrated on February 8, 2011, The Safer Internet Day. From the same date, the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, the Institute for Research and Crime Prevention, launched a campaign to counter child pornography on the Internet: "Who do you accept?".

The campaign will run from February to June 2011 and will have a TV and radio spot, and for a better dissemination of the message of the campaign, the police will organize meetings with students. In over 600 classes of students from primary schools will hold contests on the proper use of the Internet.

For further information about the campaign, please contact us at contact@safernet.ro.