A safe digital environment is everyone’s business

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 12 July 2018, 12:00AM

Creating a safe digital environment is everyone’s responsibility, especially when it comes to children accessing pornography. 

Office of the Regulator C.E.O., Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti, said this in response to questions from the Samoa Observer after Justice Vui Clarence Nelson, a member of the U.N. Committee of the Rights of the Child, decried failure by internet service providers (I.S.P.) to fund advocacy and awareness programs to warn children of the dangers of accessing porn. 

“Technology is always evolving and if the heart of the matter is really the safety and wellbeing of our children, then I am inclined to say that the responsibility for creating a safe digital environment falls on everyone from a national level - service providers, to Government, to the judiciary, law enforcers and most importantly parents (despite the digital gap) – and the international level all international stakeholders U.N.C.I.E.F., interpol, CoE, International Telecommunications Union, to name a few,” she said.

“A child accessing pornography is a concern.  I share the same concern and no parent or guardian in their right mind will appreciate any exposure. This matter is not new and was in fact the crux of discussions in several platforms and more recently in 2016 between the Attorney General’s Office, the Office of the Regulator and a multitude of stakeholders both in the public and private sphere, which resulted in the production of a policy commonly referenced as the Child Sexual Abuse Material Policy (C.S.A.M. Policy).” 

According to Lefaoali’i, C.S.A.M. Policy highlights that amongst other things, consultations were conducted with international entities implementing similar initiatives such as policing C.S.A.M. and it was established that the practical and workable solution is to focus on the approach of policing C.S.A.M. over the internet rather than policing pornography or indecent material in general due to technical and continuous legal debates on what is indecent material. 

“The intention of the filter scheme was to pilot the implementation by Internet Service Providers (I.S.P's) of Filters that sift a list of domains provided by Interpol through the Transnational Crimes Unit, the Pilot preliminary analysis of reports provided by I.S.P's did not raise any alarms.

The pilot was also intended to allow I.S.P's to implement, examine and then provide feedback to assist the overall stakeholders with further legislative changes to deal not only with this particular issue of pornography, but also towards cybercrime in general, which recently the Council of Europe and the Attorney General of Australia and Samoa worked collaboratively to deliver sessions and workshop on the week commencing 2 July 2018; shedding more light on cybercrime issues, substantively and procedurally as well as acknowledging the anticipated benefits of ratifying of the Budapest Convention.” 

As indicated in previous press statements conducted on the School O.S.A.C., the Regulators Office has been asked during their sessions about available tools to block inappropriate materials other than the block/delete from the computer and block/delete from your mind strategy. 

“And the response is that there are many methods and tools available which is also contained in the pamphlets developed by O.O.T.R. for children, teachers, guardians or parents, although there is no exact 100 per cent threat proof tool."

Lefaoali’i concluded the safe online environment sought by all can be attained if all stakeholders united and pooled their resources, capacity and knowledge.

By Joyetter Feagaimaali’i-Luamanu 12 July 2018, 12:00AM

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