WASHINGTON - The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), an international non-profit organization dedicated to identifying and promoting best practices, tools, and methods for online safety, has announced that FOSI CEO Stephen Balkam will join the Internet Safety Technical Task Force as a board member. The Task Force, comprised of leading Internet businesses and organizations, will focus on identifying effective online safety tools and technologies that can be used by many companies across multiple platforms. The Task Force will explore all new technologies that can help make Internet users more safe and secure including age verification online.
"The Family Online Safety Institute welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Internet Safety Technical Task Force as we work together to make the Web safer for kids and their families," said Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute. "Having served on the COPA Commission, we recognize the many benefits of this new initiative and look forward to examining the issues and challenges raised by our Web 2.0 world."
The Task Force was organized by MySpace with the support of the Attorneys General, and will be chaired by John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. The Task Force is composed of industry-leading Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, and technology companies, including: AOL, Aristotle, the Berkman Center, the Center for Democracy & Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Conectsafely.org, Comcast, Enough is Enough, Google, the Family Online Safety Institute, iKeepSafe, IAC, Institute for Policy Innovation, Linden Lab, Loopt, Idology, Microsoft, MySpace, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), News Corporation, the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF), Sentinel Tech, Symantec, and Verizon.
"The safety concerns posed by the Internet are part and parcel of the safety concerns that arise in human interactions in the physical world. These concerns are not unique to any one service or technology platform; they are shared by the companies that provide Internet services and the individuals who use these services. We should work together - private firms, technologists, experts from the non-profit world, and leaders in government - to solve online safety issues as a joint effort," said John Palfrey, Executive Director of The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School. "We are honored to assume the leadership of this Task Force and excited to convene the broad array of interests represented by the group."
"We look forward to partnering with The Berkman Center and the Task Force to identify the technologies and tools that will be available industry-wide to provide a safer online experience for all Internet users," said Hemanshu Nigam, Chief Security Officer for Fox Interactive Media and MySpace.
The Task Force will prepare quarterly reports with their findings and present a final report at the end of the year.