Nov. 16, 2017 | Washington D.C.
2017 Annual Conference
Trust & Civility in a Challenging World



Nov. 16, 2017

8 a.m. - 7 p.m.


Knight Conference Center at the Newseum

555 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001

This year's theme is "Trust & Civility in a Challenging World”.  We will address a wide range of issues that weaken trust, safety and civility online and the positive ways to respond to these challenges.

The FOSI Annual Conference is the premier gathering of the online safety community.  Hear from leaders in government, industry, the NGO sector as well as leading researchers, academics and practitioners in this growing space.  

We will have the usual mix of keynotes, plenaries, breakout sessions and exhibitors.  And there will be plenty of time for networking in one of DC’s most stunning venues. 

For sponsorship opportunities and information click here.

Interested in exhibiting at this year's conference? Click here for more information. 

For press inquiries please contact us at



Day 1
Nov. 16, 2017
  1. 8 a.m.
    Registration, breakfast & exhibits
  2. 9 a.m.
    Welcome & Opening Remarks

    Sarah Holland, Google and Family Online Safety Institute Chair
    Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute

  3. 9:15 a.m.
    Launch of FOSI Research

    • Jay Campbell, Hart Research Associates
    • Abigail Davenport, Hart Research Associates

  4. 9:35 a.m.
    The Practical and Policy Implications of our Hyper-Connected Lives

    • Jennifer Hanley, Family Online Safety Institute (Moderator)
    • Emily McReynolds, University of Washington
    • Josh Sherman, Amazon
    • John Verdi, Future of Privacy Forum 

    Experts respond to the launch of the 2017 FOSI research on the connected family, with detailed examination of the impact of connected toys and family devices on households in the US. The privacy implications and possible legislative and self-regulatory responses will be debated.

  5. 10 a.m.
  6. 10:10 a.m.
    Lessons from Around the World

    • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute 
    • Julie Inman-Grant, Australia's eSafety Commissioner

    A fireside chat with the eSafety Commissioner of Australia about online safety approaches Down Under and around the world.

  7. 10:30 a.m.
    Networking break
  8. 10:50 a.m.
    Fireside chat

    • Stephen Balkam, Family Online Safety Institute
    • Kurt Beidler, Amazon 

    This fireside chat will explore how Amazon has approached the issue of children’s use of technology. How, for instance, do you enable kids to make decisions on their own while also remaining safe. And how has Amazon’s parental control, FreeTime, changed the way parents allow their kids to use connected devices?
  9. 11:10 a.m.
  10. 11:20 a.m.
  11. 11:30 a.m.
    Illegal, Ill-Advised and Online: Our Challenging Digital World

    • Cordell Carter, The Aspen Institute (Moderator)
    • Monika Bickert, Facebook
    • Danielle Melfi, Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children
    • Simon Morrison, Google
    • Brooke Scannell, US Congress

    Cyberbullying, hate speech, harassment, and online child sexual exploitation. These are just some of the challenges that Internet users face today, the response of policymakers, Internet companies, and non-profits will be the focus of this panel.

  12. 12:10 p.m.
    Breakout: What Would The Jetsons Do? Privacy, Ethics, and the Internet of Things

    • Hilary Cain, Toyota
    • Chris Calabrese, Center for Democracy & Technology
    • Adam Thierer, Mercatus Center

    As technology advances so do the hard ethical questions.  This panel will delve into the debate about self-driving cars, connected homes, and children’s toys. The privacy implications, the ethical dilemmas, and the responses of policymakers and regulators will be examined in detail.

  13. 12:10 p.m.
    Breakout: Technical and Human Solutions to Problematic Behaviors

    • Rob Perogano, Journalist (Moderator)
    • Tracy Bennett, Teen Safe
    • Darren Brelesky, Nickelodeon
    • Patricia Cartes, Twitter 
    • Rachel Martin, Born This Way Foundation 

    This panel will highlight the role of technology in keeping families safe online, and how that works alongside human moderators. The importance of digital citizenship, anti-bullying efforts, AI and company policies in safety decisions will be covered.

  14. 12:10 p.m.
    Breakout: Teaching, Parenting, and Hard Online Conversations

    • Kerry Gallagher, ConnectSafely (Moderator)
    • Tami Bhaumik, Roblox
    • Janell Burley Hofmann, Author
    • Abigail Marsh, Carnegie Mellon
    • Princess Young, U.S. Department of Homeland Security

    The role of parents in keeping children safe and allowing them to access the benefits of the online world will be the focus of this panel. When and how to make parenting adjustments depending on a child’s age, how companies should talk to parents, and how parents should talk to kids will be topics of conversation, alongside media literacy and the role of schools in teaching online safety.

  15. 1 p.m.
    Lunch, exhibits & networking
  16. 2 p.m.
    Breakout: Serving Families with Special Needs

    • Jenny Backus (Moderator)
    • Michael Burns, Zift
    • Henry Claypool, Loyola Marymount University
    • Susan Dielgelman, AT&T

    Technology plays a special role in families with specific needs, and this panel will delve into the benefits of technological advancements for this community, as well as adaptations to meet specific needs. The impact of the Internet of Things on those with physical limitations, as well as gaming technology for children with autism will be topics of discussion for experts.

  17. 2 p.m.
    Breakout: Why All Offensive Content Isn’t Created Equal

    • Tim Sparapani, SPQR Strategies (Moderator)
    • Susan Bensch, Dangerous Speech Project
    • Jonathan Vick, Anti-Defamation League
    • Heather West, Mozilla

    Why extremist content cannot be treated the same as online child sexual abuse, and why hate speech requires a different response to harassment. This panel will explore the different technical and policy responses to these challenging problems.


  18. 2 p.m.
    Breakout: 2020 Vision: The Future of Online Safety

    • Larry Magid, ConnectSafety 
    • Robin Raskin, Living In Digital Times 

    This brainstorming session will consider that issues we will be addressing in the year 2020, how we will deal with them and who will be responsible.

  19. 2:55 p.m.
  20. 3:15 p.m.
    Reestablishing Trust and Civility in Our Challenging World

    • Ambassador (ret.) Daniel Sepulveda (Moderator)
    • Sven Gerjets, Mattel
    • Ambassador (ret.) Karen Kornbluh, Council on Foreign Relations

    The role of the entire Internet ecosystem in combating online challenges and making the Internet a trusted and civil place will be the focus of the final plenary panel. Experts will tackle the hard questions about fake news, harassment, and safety by design when they discuss possible approaches to respond to today’s problems while looking ahead to the future.

  21. 4 p.m.
  22. 4:45 p.m.
    Closing remarks
  23. 5 p.m.
  24. 7 p.m.


President, Backus Consulting LLC
Founder & CEO, Family Online Safety Institute
Director of Kids and Family, Amazon
Global Ambassador, TeenSafe
VP, Marketing, Roblox
Head of Product Policy and Counterterrorism, Facebook
CEO, Zift
Vice President for Policy, Center for Democracy & Technology
Partner, Hart Research Associates
Executive Director, Socrates Program, The Aspen Institute
Head of Global Safety Outreach, Twitter
Independent Consultant
Partner, Hart Research Associates
Director of Public Affairs, AT&T
Digital Learning Specialist, St. John's Prep
Chief Technology Officer, Mattel, Inc.
eSafety Commissioner, Australian Government
VP, Legal & Policy, Family Online Safety Institute
Chairman of the FOSI Board, Public Policy Manager, Google
CEO and Co-Founder,
Societal Computing Ph.D. Candidate, School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University
Researcher, University of Washington Tech Policy Lab
Policy & Development Manager, Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children
Public Policy and Government Relations Manager, Google
Founder and President, Living in Digital Times
Founder & Principal, SPQR Strategies
Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University
Vice President of Policy, Future of Privacy Forum
Senior Policy Manager, Mozilla
Program Lead, National Cyber Security Awareness Programs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security