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November 8, 2023

Google, Meta, Discord and more team up to fight child abuse online

  • A new cross-platform information sharing program called Lantern aims to fight online child sexual exploitation and abuse (OCSEA).
  • Lantern will work to keep predators from directing minors to other platforms for exploitation.
  • Tech companies involved in this cross-platform signal sharing between online companies, include Meta, Google and Discord.
  • Lantern will serve as a central database for companies to contribute data and check their own platforms against it.
  • When companies see signals known as OCSEA policy-violating email addresses or usernames, child sexual abuse material (CSAM) hashes or CSAM keywords, they can flag them in their own systems.
  • Whilst signals don’t strictly prove abuse, they help companies investigate and potentially take action.
  • For more, please visit the Verge website.

Guidance urges Irish parents not to buy smartphones for primary school children

  • New guidance urging parents not to buy smartphones for their primary school age children is set to be introduced.
  • If the guidance is approved, it will be sent to all primary schools in Ireland.
  • The guidance is based on a project involving eight schools in Greystones in Co Wicklow that saw parents of primary school pupils unanimously agree not to buy smartphones for them.
  • Education Minister Norma Foley’s proposal was prompted by concerns around the potential exposure of younger children to cyber bullying, violent and sexual content and other harmful content on phones.
  • The minister’s party leader, Tanaiste Micheal Martin supports the guidance.
  • For more, please visit the Irish News website.

Former Meta employee tells Senate company failed to protect teens safety

  • A former Meta employee testified before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, alleging that the company was aware of harassment and other harms facing young people on its platforms but failed to address them.
  • The employee, Arturo Bejar, worked on well-being for Instagram from 2019-2021.
  • Prior to this he was a director for engineering for Facebook’s Protect and Care team from 2009-2015.
  • He said that “it’s time that the public and parents understand the true level of harm posed by these ‘products’ and it’s time that young users have the tools to report and suppress online abuse”.
  • His testimony comes following a push in Congress to pass legislation that would require social media platforms to provide parents with tools to protect children online.
  • For more, please visit the Reuters website.

Pensioner extradited from Poland to Northern Ireland wanted to stand trial for child sex offences

  • The PSNI released a statement reporting that a man in his 70s has been extradited from Poland to NI to stand trial in NI for sex offences committed against a child.
  • He was detained in Poland in August on foot of an extradition warrant issued in NI.
  • He is due to appear before Dungannon Magistrates Court today.
  • Seargeant Davey from the International Policing Unit reported: ““This extradition is an example that shows our continued determination and commitment to work with International Law Enforcement partners to track down wanted persons and bring offenders before the courts here in Northern Ireland.”
  • He continued: “We will continue to work with our partners and use all the tools available to return wanted persons. Our message is clear that PSNI will pursue fugitives outside the jurisdiction and work closely with our international partners to have them returned to face justice in Northern Ireland.”
  • For more, please visit the ITV News website.