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Protecting Children Online

Story supplied by LU Press Office

Online child protection experts will meet in London next week to discuss ways in which technology can help keep children safe on the internet.

Police, politicians, researchers, children's charities and computer scientists will discuss the future challenges and opportunities technology offers parents and law enforcers working in this complex and challenging area.

Leading experts from different fields will discuss their perspectives, and showcase the latest technological developments in child online safety. This conference is aimed at people working in law enforcement, child protection, education, internet governance, and to anyone who is interested in the latest technologies that can be used to help protect children online.

Speakers include:

  • John Carr OBE, Secretary of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety who will Chair the meeting
  • Alex Nagle, Head of Strategy, Policy, Partnerships and Governance at the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)
  • Professor Julia Davidson, Co-Director of the Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies
  • Jon Taylor MSc, who researched online sexual grooming and sex offender behaviour having worked covertly for UK Law Enforcement
  • Professors Awais Rashid and Matt Jones Isis Project (Protecting Children in Online Social Networks) Lancaster and Swansea Universities

The conference has been organised by a team led by Professor Awais Rashid of Lancaster University.

His team is heading up project Isis - a study developing a tool which can work out a person's age and gender using language analysis techniques. They hope it will eventually be used to help police and law enforcement agencies spot when an adult in a chartroom is masquerading as a child as part of the victim "grooming" process. The tool can also be used to build general language profiles of paedophiles and paedophile groups to assist police in apprehending them online.

The study also addresses the ethical issues inherent in policing online social interaction.

Professor Rashid said: "Recent years have seen a rapid rise in the number and use of online social networks. These social networks pose two significant risks in terms of child exploitation: paedophiles predating on children in chat rooms and distributing and sharing child abuse media through online file sharing.

"Effectively policing the Internet is a challenging and resource intensive task. This conference will discuss the direction for future technologies that will seek to support law enforcement in order to protect children online."

Thu 21 October 2010

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