This Blog post is written for the participation in BYND2015 Blogging Competition on the given title: “ICT4D AND FUTURE GENERATIONS: AN IDEA TO GLOBAL LEADERS” and I am presenting my ideas under theme “Child Online Protection and Cyber Security”
What is ICT and ICT4d?
ICT is the means by which we can transmit, detect, access and reply to this information. It includes such technologies as radio, television, video, DVD, telephone (both fixed line and mobile phones), satellite systems, computer and network hardware and software; as well as the equipment and services associated with these technologies, such as videoconferencing, e-mail and blogs.
In a simple sense ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the fields of socioeconomic development, international development and human rights.
How can ICT help to change the World?
ICT, or Information and Communication Technology, refers to the many forms of technology which makes it possible for people to send and receive information with others all over the world.
ICT4D can mean as dealing with disadvantaged populations anywhere in the world, but it is more seen with applications in developing countries. It concerns with directly applying information technology approaches to poverty reduction. ICTs can be applied directly, wherein its use directly benefits the disadvantaged population, or indirectly, wherein it can assist aid organizations or non-governmental organizations or governments or businesses to improve socio-economic conditions.
More than half of the population on earth still lies far below the line of poverty, with no touch of ICTs. If ICT is used for betterment of that group of population and given a clear access for use of ICTs, then the number of innovative minds increases, and thus will help to change the world.
My Idea on “ICT4D: Child – online protection and cyber security”
The Internet, mobile phones and other electronic media provide children with levels of access to information, culture, communication and entertainment which was impossible to imagine just twenty years ago. With these access convergence media, the lines between different parts of the information and communication technology (ICT) industry are becoming blurred, presenting a new array of challenges in protecting children in cyberspace.
The growth in Internet associated technologies like online applications and social networking have made abusive images of children easier to create and distribute, and provide significant new opportunities for abusers to access and make contact with children online. While information and communication technology (ICT) is working with law enforcement in actively collecting intelligence about such crimes against children.
It is extremely important that:
- The time between an incident and its reporting is minimized.
- Intelligent monitoring tools are developed by the technology industry to detect and remove spams and phishing. With the use of social engineering tools, suspicious actions from the users will be detected and progressive monitoring within the boundaries of policy set forth by the services will be conducted.
Thinking beyond the horizon
Social Networking Media like Facebook, Flicker, Instagram and akin media are prone platforms where a child is abused in every 10 seconds. Key idea here is to develop such tools that can report to the law enforcement authority in real time when an abuser publishes/ posts offensive image, particularly related to child abuse. A database can be created containing the images of children received through some form of reporting portal and then later using same tool to scan, detect and report if any flagged content are being uploaded on to the online system.
Similarly, an intelligence system can be developed to monitor the related or matching images and contents throughout the web to prevent the circulation of offensive and flagged images over and over again.
This technology, when applied to online services (such as in the system deployed by Facebook in their Social networking platform) allows automatic detection when someone uploads such images and flags it for law enforcement investigation. This prevents the circulation of such images over and over again.
Every small social networking media should introduce a complaint system in their portal where users can report about on-going child abuse, spams and internet bullying systems. These complaint systems can prioritize the reports in different levels of priority and then actions can be taken based on the type of incidents reported. Urgent reports that concerns immediate risks to children can be escalated to the authorities quicker than other following reports and actions can be taken on real time.
Risks in the online world for children include them being bullied by spammers from various websites and online application. Monitoring and blocking such websites and online application can be done to make the internet a safer place to browse for children.
Similarly, mobile phone industry can also work with some principles like:
- Classification of commercial content so that appropriate filters can be designed to screen inappropriate content from children.
- Access control mechanisms such as parental filters to prevent unauthorized access to such content.
- Education and awareness courses for children and parents to educate them about the usage of mobile phones and informing them about the reporting mechanisms incase such situation arise.
Besides that, all parents should also be aware of what their children are using and how they are coping through the internet. To make it safe from home, parents can use pre-available filter tools for pornographic contents, parental advisory videos and websites.
What’s holding us back?
In the context of developing countries like Nepal, the only thing holding us back is access to new technology in mass level and proper awareness on how the least available technology can be used to build ICT4D community.
Does the idea address a key issue faced by the ict4d community?
As Children and young people in all parts of the world now access the internet using a broad range of devices, child abuse online has become a trending issue faced by these ICT4D communities.
The Internet, and the technologies that enable us to use it, give us the opportunity to advance together towards a world that is more open, inclusive, free and democratic. But for that better world of freedom and openness, we will have to pay a price which is a responsibility of all of us.
That is why we must work to make the Internet a world in which children will be able to pursue their dreams in an environment that is protected and safe.