FOSI’s 2016 Annual Conference was opened by Stephen Balkam. He recognized the theme of this year’s conference, “Online Safety in Transition,” and its reference to the incoming Administration by unveiling FOSI’s four recommendations to the Trump transition team. His remarks focused on the impact and reach that social media is having on the development of our world, including the recent election. FOSI’s Board Chair, Sarah Holland of Google, welcomed the audience and reflected on the importance of bringing people together to discuss the challenges of technology as we navigate the diverse and wide-ranging agendas of those who are helping to develop and capture new realities.
Jules Polonetsky, of the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), gave overview and analysis of the joint white paper produced by FOSI and FPF, "Kids and the Connected Home: Privacy in the Age of Connected Dolls, Talking Dinosaurs, and Battling Robots." Polonetsky’s discussion examined the implications of smart and connected toys on both a broad policy level, as well as in the day-to-day household. He evaluated the ways that companies on the innovation side work, in contrast to the ways that privacy and safety must work. This lead to a number of points around definitions - what is categorized as “smart”, “connected,” “robotic,” etc, and what should or should not necessitate an update of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
Next on the agenda was a discussion between former FTC Commissioner Julie Brill of Hogan Lovells and FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny. This discussion touched on COPPA and the hope that companies at the forefront of developing connected products aimed to kids will not only comply with privacy rules but go above and beyond what is mandated to think ahead about the impact that these products can have on children from a consumer, marketing, and privacy level. Brill and McSweeny discussed the struggles of parents who are not only trying to keep pace with new technology but ensure that their children are protected from any unforeseen risk. McSweeny stressed the need to provide parents with meaningful choices and information at point of sale and building consumer trust. She also spoke about the need for education and study on the impact of interactive technology on developing young minds, particularly kids’ ability to differentiate between technology and reality. Both agreed that these issues exemplify the need for further government engagement and research.
Catherine Russell, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, delivered remarks on the ways that social media is inherent to progress on social issues such as human rights. She discussed, in particular, the rights of women, and how digital spaces have made an impact on stigma around issues such as sexual assault, illustrating that the Internet has the power to change stereotypes and promote support and unity. Ambassador Russell described the difference between the harassment of men and women online and the ways that women’s ability to participate can be hindered. From a foreign policy perspective, Russell described the ways that the suppression of women inhibits safety, security and peace worldwide, calling on the US as the home of technology innovation to be a world leader in combating these issues.
Amanda Lenhart, of the Data & Society Research Institute and AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, gave a presentation on “Online Harassment, Digital Abuse and Cyberstalking in America.” This data focused on the ways that both men and women experience harassment online, and the differences in reaction. Overall, data showed that men are more likely to experience harassment as a “denial of access or participation,” whereas women are more likely to receive sexual harassment, offline stalking, or having sensitive information exposed online. Younger people, LGBTQ and other minority groups have higher instances of online abuse, although 65% of people witnessing abuse online reported that they reacted by responding to the perpetrator or victim in some way or using platform tools to report the abuse. The full research report can be found here.
The second keynote of the morning was delivered by Representative Katherine Clark. Rep. Clark spoke about the impact of abuse online and the ways that it caused victims - women in particular- to censor their lives and ‘opt out’ of certain opportunities in fields such as journalism, politics, or others that create a heightened public, online presence. Rep. Clark stated that the results of online harassment directly correlate with challenges inequality, justice and freedom of speech. Rep. Clark also shared her own experience with swatting. She spoke about the need to form productive partnerships within the tech sector, address systemic issues, and her desire to develop and work on solutions proposed in Congress.
The plenary panel, Cyber Ethics, Online Harassment and Hate Speech, included speakers from Microsoft, Twitter, AT&T, the University of Washington and the First Amendment Center, and allowed panelists to reflect on the previous topics covered. Jacqueline Beauchere discussed Microsoft’s code of conduct and the task of defining hate speech and hate content. Tony Goncalves discussed AT&T’s Digital You platform and #LaterHaters campaign and the efficacy of bringing in social influencers to speak about cyberbullying; educate parents and educators on media usage and types of content. Patricia Cartes discussed the challenges of Twitter as a public platform and how to productively reach out to users who act out of compliance with platform rules. Dr. Megan Moreno spoke about the impact of online abuse and harassment on young people’s real lives, and the importance of physicians and healthcare professionals in assessing kids on a whole health level, understanding that online-to-offline stress can impact physical and mental health in real life. Panelists agreed that balancing freedom of speech with protection of users is a multifaceted job and agreed that parents, companies, law enforcement, government, and civil society, all have a role to play.
The first set of breakout panels included Reaching and Teaching Good Digital Parents, The Internet of Families, and Politics, Policies & Online Privacy. The second set of breakout panels included Tech Solutions to Challenging Online Behaviors, New Frontiers: AI and Machine Learning, Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality, and Responding to Extremist Messaging and Behavior. For a full list of breakout speakers and bios from these sessions, please reference our agenda.
The afternoon plenary panel, Online Safety: Think Globally, Act Locally, brought together international experts to talk about the importance of examining global online safety issues in a local or cultural context. The panel featured diverse perspectives from Facebook, Netflix, NetSafe New Zealand, Nielsen, European Schoolnet and the EU Delegation to the U.S. Speakers described the need for educational responses to be tailored to the needs of children and young people in a culturally appropriate framework, citing the need to find community partners and foster trust in local communities. Speakers agreed on the difficulty of applying policy globally when the standard for what is offensive online can differ greatly by country and region, again highlighting the importance of local partnerships to ensure understanding of local social and political issues. The nuance of achieving regulatory balance, and different regional approaches to data privacy, were also discussed.
Nicol Turner Lee of the Brookings Institution hosted an in-conversation with researcher Kevin Clark of George Mason University, presenting findings from “The Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents.” This nationwide study focused exclusively on behaviors and impacts of technology use in the African American community, a group that tends to be underrepresented in STEM fields and research. Ms. Turner Lee and Mr. Clark discussed the need for policies and digital initiatives to think about people of color and different backgrounds. They talked about the importance of broadening the scope of current research to create an equal representation, and opportunity, for those who may have previously been examined only as a subset of wider data.
The final keynote speech of the day came from Congresswoman Susan Brooks. Due to a last minute scheduling issue, the Congresswoman’s remarks were delivered on her behalf by Legislative Assistant Reagan Payne, and stressed the need for bipartisan efforts to combat emerging online safety issues. Going forward, the Congresswoman encouraged many of the diverse attendees work with the incoming Administration and support the incoming First Lady’s efforts to combat cyberbullying.
To see video clips from the conference please visit FOSI’s YouTube channel!
The conference agenda including resources from speakers can be viewed here.
Dec. 1, 2016
8:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Knight Conference Center at the Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001
Sarah Holland, Google
Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute
Jules Polonetsky, Future of Privacy Forum
FOSI and the Future of Privacy Forum released a white paper entitled “Kids & The Connected Home: the Benefits and Privacy Implications of Connected Dolls, Talking Dinosaurs, and Battling Robots”
Julie Brill, Hogan Lovells
Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, Federal Trade Commission
A conversation between FTC Commissioner McSweeny and Julie Brill covered the reactions to the connected toys white paper and key privacy issues for the FTC.
Amanda Lenhart, Data & Society Research Institute and AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
Gene Policinski, First Amendment Center (Moderator)
Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft
Dr. Megan Moreno, University of Washington
Patricia Cartes, Twitter
Tony Goncalves, AT&T
This panel focused on the challenges of online harassment, bullying and hate speech. The ways in which industry is confronting the problem, as well as how to promote good cyber-ethics and digital citizenship was explored by expert panelists.
Anne Collier, Net Safety Collaborative (Moderator)
Nick Jimenez, Comcast
Janell Burley Hofmann, Author
Augusta Nissly, Family Online Safety Institute
Dr Tracy Bennett, Get Kids Internet Safe
Princess Young, Department of Homeland Security (Invited)
A discussion that focused on how to best communicate with parents and caregivers about the best ways to keep their children safe online. Panelists shared their experience and knowledge with the audience, and highlight resources, tools, and methods that have been effective in promoting online safety.
Sara Sorcher, CSM Passcode
Travis Hall, National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Konstantin Ignatev, Kaspersky Labs
Carsten Maple, PETRAS
Aaron Chase, New York Attorney General's Office, Bureau of Internet & Technology
A look at the impact of new technologies on family life. The role of government and companies in educating consumers, ensuring security, and allowing families to benefit from the opportunities presented by the Internet of Things was discussed.
Jennifer Hanley, Family Online Safety Institute (Moderator)
Alan Simpson, iKeepSafe
Josh Connolly, Congresswoman Jackie Speier's office
Jim Halpert, DLA Piper
Sara Kloek, Department of Education
A panel that addressed various aspects of the privacy debate. COPPA, Revenge Porn, education technology and children’s privacy in general will form the bulk of the conversation. Developments over the past 8 years was discussed as well as expectations for the next Administration and Congress.
Hayley Tsukayama, Washington Post (Moderator)
Ralph Acosta, TeenSafe
Kurt Beidler, Amazon
Fred Beckley, MeetMe
Chris Rothey, Content Watch
Tools provided by the technology industry are often highlighted as resources to keep children safe on the Internet. The development, use, and promotion of parental control technologies was discussed by experts.
Adam Thierer, Mercatus Center (Moderator)
Sarah Holland, Google
Don McGowan, Pokemon
Anne Hobson, R Street Institute
Kristin Cohen, Federal Trade Commission
The development artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality and augmented reality is posing challenges to governments and parents in keeping children safe, but the opportunities are almost boundless. Panelists talked about innovations, uses, and responses to concerns that have been raised.
Emma Llanso, Center for Democracy & Technology (Moderator)
Paul Birch, UK Metropolitan Police
Kevin Bankston, New American Foundation
Oren Segal, Anti-Defamation League
Seamus Hughes, George Washington University
Camille Francois, Jigsaw
A look at the growing concern over extremist postings on the Internet. Research into the content of such material, the role of takedowns vs. the promotion of counter-speech and global responses to the issue was discussed.
Chris Libertelli, Netflix (Moderator)
Andrea Glorioso, EU Delegation to the U.S
Neil Melhuish, NetSafe New Zealand
Hans Martens, Insafe Network Coordinator, European Schoolnet
Karen Kornbluh, Nielsen
Antigone Davis, Facebook
The actions of global governments and the role of non-profits in ensuring online safety for all was covered by this international panel. The various responses to these global, and yet very local challenges, will form the majority of the discussion. Panelists also highlighted the approaches that have worked and make recommendations for other countries to consider.
Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings Institution
Kevin Clark, George Mason University
New research from Victoria Rideout, Kimberly Scott, and Kevin Clark on The Digital Lives of African American Tweens, Teens, and Parents: Innovating and Learning with Technology. One of the authors discussed the findings and implications with Nicol Turner Lee.
Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute