Red Hood Project Calls for Industry Response to Parsons Tragedy
Thursday April 11, 2013 - For Immediate Release
In the wake of the Rehtaeh Parsons tragedy, the Red Hood Project calls for industry and government to act immediately to protect children from online exploitation.
The photographing, texting and posting on Facebook of the gang rape of a child are unspeakable violations of our standards of decency. The Red Hood Project calls for the urgent overhcalaul of consumer protection, product liability, and corporate social responsibility in social media and mobile technology to meet a standard of safety by design. Read more...
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Red Hood Project
A grassroots movement to make social media safe for young users.
Follow us on Twitter at @RedHoodProject and #reformSM
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RedHoodProject
We are proud to be a founding partner of this movement to make social media safe for young users.
Red Hood Project
The four areas where we advocate for change are:
1. Age verification
2. Disabled location and web browser tracking
3. Default privacy settings
4. Firewall protection for children’s data online
Introduction: Data protection
Children have an inherent and special right to privacy preservation.
We have entered a new era in which both social media and other corporate entities gather a vast array of our personal data, and it’s impossible to predict or even know what use will be made of it.
This makes a mockery of informed consent, and is especially problematic for children’s data. Relying on parents alone to manage this issue leaves far too many children vulnerable. Many parents cannot keep up with technology. Even those who inform themselves will be out of date within weeks.
Because of the unpredictability of our online future and the clear trend toward invasion of privacy, we should preserve children’s data privacy until they are old enough to make informed choices for themselves.
1. Age Verification
There can be no specialized protection of children’s privacy rights without verification of who is a child.
Identity and age verification is much more common than we generally imagine. Banking, credit card, and PayPal sites all provide enhanced security protections and require identity verification. Children should be as safe online as our credit cards.
The Red Hood Project calls for social media and online providers to know when account holders are children. This will probably be easiest to achieve through mobile phones, as almost all smartphones are provided to children by parents, giving mobile providers a responsible adult point of contact.
As child online users migrate to smartphones, society has a unique opportunity to capture this moment and establish necessary protections through mobile providers.
2. Disabled location tracking and web browser tracking
(a) Location tracking
GPS location tracking enabled by smartphone technology allows users to be located within 10 meters. People with this information don’t only know where children live; they can determine their physical movements and habits. They know when kids are at soccer practice or a concert. They may be able to tell when they are home alone.
As a matter of personal safety, it should not be possible to physically locate anyone online (without their consent). This especially pertains to children. Senator Al Franken in the US has taken a strong leadership position, seeking to disable all location tracking. Learn more at http://www.alfranken.com/pages/consumers_privacy_netneutrality
(b) Web browser tracking
Tracking of web browser behavior is a multi-billion dollar industry. As Gary Kovacs, CEO of Mozilla outlined in his TED talk, even young children visiting websites with children’s content are tracked by dozens of unseen sites that monetize their behaviour. It’s wrong to track children’s behaviour. Society, including our corporate sector, has an obligation to protect their privacy.
3. Default privacy settings for children and youth
Instagram, owned by Facebook, is one example of potential hazards and dangers to children, who can too easily inadvertently disclose their home address, cell-phone numbers, and even physical location.
The ideal circumstance would be for social media and mobile providers to provide children and youth with default settings that prevent public disclosure of identity information.
4. Firewall protection for children online
The Red Hood Project advocates that children online be protected from unwelcome monitoring, surveillance, and communication from strangers. No adult should be able to follow, track or communicate with a child they do not know.
Social media corporations have an obligation provide advanced security protections that safeguard children from known threats.
OpEd by Raffi Cavoukian and Sandy Garossino - Social Media Profiteers Owe Children Safety by Design. The Tyee