Online Safety and Technology Working Group delivers report to Congress

Jun 9, 2010 3:41pm


By Michael Kaiser, NCSA Executive Director

After a year of meetings and deliberations, the Online Safety and Technology Working Group sent to Congress the report Youth Safety on a Living Internet: Report of the Online Safety and Technology Working Group

Representing NCSA, I served on the working group and the subcommittee on education.

As background, the OSTWG was established by the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which was signed into law on October 10, 2008. The act mandated the NTIA to create the OSTWG, bringing this group together to focus on four different components of online safety.  

  • The status of industry efforts to promote online safety through educational efforts, parental control technology, blocking and filtering software, age-appropriate labels for content or other technologies or initiatives designed to promote a safe online environment for children;
  • The status of industry efforts to promote online safety among providers of electronic communications services and remote computing services by reporting apparent child pornography, including any obstacles to such reporting;
  • The practices of electronic communications service providers and remote computing service providers related to record retention in connection with crimes against children; and
  • The development of technologies to help parents shield their children from inappropriate material on the Internet. 

Many thanks have to be extended to the OSTWG’s Co-Chairs Anne Collier of Co-Director, ConnectSafely.org  and President, Net Family News , and Hemanshu Nigam, Founder, SSP Blue and Formerly Chief Security Officer, News Corporation. Their leadership and tireless, all volunteer effort brought this excellent report to fruition on time. We were not always an easy group to keep in line. However, our co-chairs never wavered and led us through the process allowing all ideas to be voiced and with an understanding that when comes to keeping young people safe,  passions run strong. 

In submitting NCSA’s supporting statement, I wrote: 

The report was developed by active participation of a diverse group of representatives from industry, government, and the nonprofit sector. As it should, the findings and recommendations represent the great breadth and depth of the field. In NCSA’s opinion, that’s what gives the document credibility. Moving together in unison is the best way to achieve our shared vision of making the Internet and cyberspace as safe and secure as possible for young people.

Yes, the report is long but it is chock full of great ideas and recommendations and excellent background information on a broad range of Internet safety issues. So take a look.  Many of the recommendations, such as “promote digital citizenship in pre-K-12 education as a national priority,” are ones that very much parallel NCSA’s vision of how we teach young people to be safe, secure participants in the digital world in which they live.

NCSA was honored to participate in this effort and looks forward to seeing how the report and its recommendations are received by congress and others concerned about the safety of America’s young people online. 

SSO (Stay Safe Online), 

Michael