Facebook, Microsoft, Google among tender, caring tech giants on UK internet safety board

The kids are in good hands

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The orgs that will sit on the executive board of the new UK Council for Internet Safety (UKCIS) have been named.

The board is jointly chaired by three government ministers: Margot James, Minister for Digital and Creative Industries; Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Children and Families; and Victoria Atkins, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability.

The talking shop is an extension of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and is made up of the usual suspects including Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, the Information Commissioner's Office, GCHQ, the Internet Watch Foundation, and the National Police Chiefs' Council among others.

UKCIS will "contribute to the Government's commitment to make the UK the safest place in the world to be online, and will help to inform the development of the forthcoming Online Harms White Paper".

Carolyn Bunting, CEO of the online child safety nonprofit, Internet Matters, said in a statement: "We are delighted to sit on the Executive Board of UKCIS where we are able to represent parents needs in keeping their children safe online.

"Online safety demands a collaborative approach and by bringing industry together we hope we can bring about real change and help everyone benefit from the opportunities the digital world has to offer."

The group will start with a focus on cyberbullying and sexual exploitation of children but also look at radicalisation and extremism, violence against women and girls, hate crime, hate speech and other forms of discrimination.

It hopes to encourage a "safer by default" design for online platforms as well as providing teachers and parents with the tools and skills to recognise and react to online harms. It also hopes to speed up reaction and response to emerging harms and "horizon scanning for potential issues caused by new technologies".

The first board meeting agreed to broaden the membership of the organisation with an associate membership model.

The UK released a white paper (PDF) on "Online Harms" in April of this year – seeking, among other things, to make online platforms, including social media sites like Facebook, online forums like Reddit, messaging services like WhatsApp and search engines like Google responsible for the content that appears on their sites and through their services. ®

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