What the Serious Crime Bill means

As covered in the first part of this blog, today David Cameron introduced the Serious Crime Bill, aimed at targeting those who ‘fish’ for victims online, irrespective of the outcome of a paedophile’s behaviour.

Today, the government is launching CAID (Child Abuse Image Database), which was discussed at the conference. As part of this, a new joint unit from QCHQ and the National Crime Agency will hunt online paedophiles with the same techniques used to track terrorists.

Much of this is targeted at the dark net, which has become popular for drug trafficking and sharing sexual abuse material.

With Christmas coming up, the number of mobile devices and communication devices (laptops, portable games machines, phones, tablets, cameras etc) given to children will be huge. Parents should be encouraged to have conversations with their children about the best way to handle this new technology, not only to protect themselves from predators but also on how to be a good Internet citizen:

For children our tips would be:

  • Don’t send that first photo, once it has been sent, there really is no going back (look at the celebrity leaks).
  • If an online conversation starts to make you feel uncomfortable, cut it off immediately.
  • You may not always be talking to the person you think you are talking to. Be wary.

For parents:

  • Mobile devices, tablets and gaming consoles will nearly always have a camera and an internet connection. This is a powerful combination and can have devastating consequences, if they are not used correctly.
  • Have the awkward talk with your children, in a way the celebrity leakage may have made this an easier topic to broach. Use it as an example, if you do not want the world to see it, don’t send it. Even if it is to someone you think you trust.
  • Take time to learn about the parental controls available on each platform. Learn how they can be used sensibly so that the child still gets value from the device but that you also feel comfortable with them using it.

From the conference, there was also talk of an API for use in applications, operating systems and websites that could allow for reporting of abuse to a central source. Hopefully these two things can come together and provide greater coverage.

It would be great to think that the idea of a traffic light system in chat apps and Human Interface Guidelines could be introduced in the future, to make clear when a potential offender is initiating this kind of chat.

As was repeated a lot at the conference, a lot of the problem is the scale of the casual offenders, if we can put these people off, rather than try to catch them, then we should. Likewise, if the child knows and is educated in the ways of online chat, with some contextual help from the application, they then make themselves much less of a target.

Part 1

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