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Attending the Family Online Safety Institute Conference

Attending the Family Online Safety Institute Conference

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Last week I attend the 2011 Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.  The theme of the fifth annual conference was “Evaluate. Innovate. Collaborate. Strategies for Safe and Healthy Online Use.” The FOSI event brings together over 400 people from the U.S., Latin America, Europe and the Middle East.  Attendees represent a broad spectrum from industry, government, advocacy organizations, NGO, media and academia.

The first day began with Amanda Lenhart from the Pew Internet & American Life Project launched the FOSI, Pew and Cable in the Classroom research titled “Teens, Kindness and Cruelty on Social Network Sites: How American teens navigate the new world of Digital Citizenship.” Lenhart walked through the study results and then a larger research panel took place with Alice Marwick from MSR, David Finklehor from Univ of New Hampshire and Sonia Livingstone from the London School of Economics.  The researchers presented their latest findings and discussed the opportunities that exist to use research to address effective strategies for keeping people safer online.

I then went to a fascinating session titled “How do We Handle Apps?” The session began with the moderator, Steve DelBianco of NetChoice, trying to define what makes mobile “apps” different from other software and web pages in relation to online safety.  DelBianco suggested that apps are different because they are more self-contained than web pages, and distributed through a central app store rather than independently.  The distribution model has safety implications because it creates an implication of trust with the platform provider that the apps will have some safety controls.

 

We then reconvened for a panel titled, “A New Beginning for Privacy Online?”  Microsoft was represented by our Chief Privacy Officer, Brendon Lynch.  The panel focused on discussion of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, COPPA.  

Day Two featured Dave Miles, Director of FOSI EMEA presenting the “State of Online Safety Report.”  The report uses FOSI GRID as its data set, which is now used by 700 online safety professionals in 120 countries.  Miles noted there is little cooperation, and lots of duplication between countries in online safety.  Most of 120 countries have no coherent approach to online safety.  

FOSI has become the online safety event of the year.  It’s a fascinating mix of government, industry, and advocates.  I look forward to next year! 

-- David Burt, CISSP, CIPP

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