The Family Online Safety Institute Award for Outstanding Achievement is awarded to those individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to advancing the goal of a safer Internet. Developing policies and content designed to keep kids safe online is something that all FOSI members are doing, not because it generates revenue, but because they feel they have a corporate responsibility to do so. Often, the employees tasked with working on these issues are pulled in many different directions and do not always receive the recognition they deserve for their dedication to this issue. All eight recipients have shown a tireless commitment to Internet Safety, and therefore deserve the FOSI Award for Outstanding Achievement. This year’s FOSI Awards were presented by Mike McKeehan of Verizon and Denise Tayloe of Privo.
Mitch Bowling, Senior Vice President & General Manager, Online Services, Comcast
As the head of Comcast’s online service group, which services more than 14 million residential Internet users, Mitch Bowling has played a central role in raising consumer awareness about Internet Safety. Under Bowling’s leadership, Comcast has built a robust, easy-to-use online Security Web site that is available to every consumer (not just Comcast customers.) The site attracts almost a million unique visitors each month and continuously provides updated tools, tips, best practices, alerts, frequently asked questions and other resources to help educate, alert and protect consumers against online threats. Bowling’s efforts to educate and protect consumers reach beyond cyberspace. He has participated in police officer training programs on Internet safety issues, and organized Internet safety summits with parents and local law enforcement officials.
Linda Criddle, President, Look Both Ways
Linda Criddle is an Internet safety expert, author, consultant, and mother of four. Criddle spent thirteen years at Microsoft focused, among other things, on Internet safety and holds several patents on online safety technologies. Criddle is currently building “Skills for Life Online,” an Internet safety curriculum for grades K-12. The curriculum, which is designed to create respectful, responsible, safe online citizens, will be vetted against national education standards and available online, free of charge to any school district or anybody who wants to use it. The goal is to empower students to take responsibility for their own safety and online behavior. Students will understand the risks and responsibilities of using and exploring the Internet, and learn the concepts to build the skills and sensibilities they need to stay safe on the Internet using any technology or device.
Jack McArtney, Associate Director, Advertising and Content Standards, Verizon
Jack McArtney has overseen the development and roll-out of innovative parental controls available through Verizon Wireless, which allow parents to set usage controls on calls and text messages, and age-appropriate content filters a host of wireless multimedia services, from messaging to the mobile web and V CAST video, music and TV. McArtney’s work has become the basis for tools across Verizon's wireless and wireline services including Verizon FiOS TV. McArtney ensured that Chaperone, the child locater service from Verizon Wireless using global positioning satellite (GPS) technology, was built from the ground-up with privacy and security safeguards in place. McArtney was a key contributor to the CTIA Content Classification and Location Based Services Best Practices activities which resulted in customer-focused industry standards.
Marie McMenamin, Senior Product Development Manager, AT&T Mobility
At AT&T, Marie McMenamin has been a key player in keeping kids safe on their mobile devices and the Internet. McMenamin has been dedicated to implementing and enhancing parental control solutions for AT&T. She has spent countless hours defining a strategy to make it easier for parents to protect their children on their wireless devices. McMenamin has been an integral part of developing the AT&T software that created necessary parental control tools to prevent children from accessing potentially harmful content. She is specifically involved in Media Net Parental Controls, which provides parental control options for email, websites, games, and more on AT&T phones. On behalf of AT&T, McMenamin has submitted and been awarded several patent applications on parental controls.
Shantal Rands Poovala, Team Lead, Consumer Products Legal Support, Google
Shantal Rands Poovala manages the Legal Removals Team at Google, which is responsible for removing illegal or inappropriate content from select Google products. She is a leading member of the Google Child Safety Team, the Google Trust & Safety Team and works closely with the Engineering, Product, and Legal teams within Google to build cutting-edge tools and develop procedures and systems to eliminate child sexual abuse images from Google's products. Poovala provides invaluable guidance to find ways to further child safety online, and liaises with external stakeholders. She manages Google's relationship with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, and reporting for child sexual abuse images. She also engages directly with law enforcement agencies to provide assistance and training with investigation and reporting of child sexual abuse images.
Jennifer Schuler, Manager of Community Relations, Sprint
Jennifer Schuler has helped thousands of kids make safer and more informed decisions when accessing the Internet, whether from computers or wireless phones. Schuler was a driving force behind the creation of Sprint’s 4NetSafetySM, a program developed with child-safety experts at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Education Association Health Information Network. Schuler’s accomplishments include: orchestrating the national launch of Sprint's 4NetSafety program; converting all 4NetSafety-sponsored content to Spanish; partnering with Sprint’s Product Development team to broaden the scope of Internet safety products and services available for Sprint customers; and working with nationally known children's advocates including John Walsh, Julianne Moore and Alicia Kozakiewicz to raise awareness of the need for safer online practices
Jamie Schumacher, Manager of Safety, Security & Crisis Communications, MySpace
Over the past few years, the media has focused more on the perceived notions of the dangers of the Internet more than on the true issues facing teens online. As Manager of Safety, Security, & Crisis Communications at MySpace, Schumacher has worked diligently to educate the media on the true issues facing the industry when protecting teens online. While working with reporters and television news producers, Schumacher has worked to focus the debate on solving truly identified problems versus the perceived, but not factually grounded, issues. Schumacher’s tireless efforts are reflected in the ever-decreasing stories of ‘predator panic’ and the ever-increasing articles on the true challenges facing teens online such as cyberbullying and risky behavior. With less attention on the perceived panic, Jamie has also been able to refocus media outlets to highlight how teens can engage in social causes like driving organic political movements through MySpace.
Adam Thierer, Senior Fellow and Director of The Progress & Freedom Foundation's Center for Digital Media Freedom
In addition to being a prolific writer on a broad range of tech policy issues, Thierer has helped change how companies and regulators approach the topic of Internet safety and parental controls. His ground breaking special report, "Parental Controls & Online Child Protection: A Survey of Tools and Methods," is an exhaustive compendium of tools and programs available to parents and families to keep kids safe online. Perhaps the greatest impact of the early versions of this report was to highlight for international, federal, state, and local leaders how much industry is doing to keep families and kids safe online, thereby staving off unneeded or even harmful legislation and regulation. Additionally, Thierer’s book has raised the bar for some companies, providing a template for what works and what doesn't in this often-confusing world of parental control software.