Participants in the conference Safer Internet for Children adopted the Prague Declaration
The Czech Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the European Commission organised a ministerial conference ”Safer Internet for Children – fighting together against illegal content and conduct on-line” in Prague on 20 April 2009. The Czech Republic was represented by Minister of Interior Ivan Langer and the Police President, Old°ich Martin¨. The conference was dedicated to the process of improving cooperation between all stakeholders in the field of promoting safer Internet and mobile communications, especially for children. At the end of the conference the participants adopted the Prague Declaration.
”International protection of children is one of the key priorities of the Ministry of Interior and we have paid increased attention to all related activities. One of our key ideas is the Prague Declaration, which we drafted and presented to the conference participants. The Prague Declaration, which we adopted today, wishes to enhance cooperation between all stakeholders across Europe and establish conditions for safer use of the Internet by children”, said the Czech Minister of the Interior Ivan Langer, and presented the flower symbolising the Prague Declaration. ”I drew inspiration from nature in spring and I will use this flower to explain the idea behind our Declaration. In the centre we have the child and the petals symbolise activities to secure the protection of the child. The first petal represents the Member States which bear the responsibility for both political and legislative measures. In this respect, I very much welcome the representatives of Switzerland and Norway who decided to join the Prague Declaration. Our flower, in the spirit of the Czech Presidency motto “a Europe without Barriers” thus helped remove barriers not only between the Member States, abut also between the “27” and the two countries which are not members of the Union. The second petal represents European cooperation. The key stakeholders here are the European Commission and, primarily, EUROPOL and INTERPOL. The improved cooperation and coordination of individual Member States will allow EUROPOL and INTERPOL to better detect and investigate for example criminal networks organising child pornography. The rest of the petals are equally important since they represent various institutions and organisations, such as industry associations, Internet Service Providers (ISP), mobile telephony providers, social networks, NGOs or schools, which should ideally be in the front line of Internet awareness raising among children“.
One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the Safer Internet programme for 2009 – 2013, the budget of which is €55 million. This significant sum of money is, as explained by Richard Swetenham, a representative of the European Commission, dedicated to both awareness raising and activities to suppress illegal content and harmful conduct on line, including improved policing.
The conference participants had an opportunity to attend several interesting workshops led or attended by remarkable speakers.
- Cyberbullying - Professor Georges Steffgen, University of Luxemburg, presented the outcomes of a piece of research targeting detection of cyberbullying and possible reactions to this phenomenon. The European Commission presented a video which draws public attention to the issue of cyberbullying via social networks.
- Self-regulation by mobile telephony providers – Speakers presented the outcomes of an agreement concluded between leading European providers and the European Commission on joint efforts in the field of protection of children using mobile telephones. One of the most significant provisions of the agreement is parent control over adult-only content and the implementation of awareness raising campaigns for both children and their parents.
- Social networks – The European Commission presented data revealing that, in Europe alone, social networks already have 41.7 million users. Only last year, their numbers rose by 35 per cent. It is estimated that in 2012, social networks will have over one hundred million users.
In the afternoon, the participants concentrated primarily on police cooperation. Pierre Reuland, a representative of INTERPOL, presented ICAD (the INTERPOL Child Abuse Image Database), which since 2001 has helped protect over 750 children from 35 countries from sexual exploitation. Paul Durrant, a representative of the European Association of Internet Service Providers (EuroISPA), spoke on the role of telecommunication providers in content filtering. The Czech Minister of the Interior, Ivan Langer, said: ”To detect perpetrators, we have to put together individual elements of a complex mosaic. We are like archaeologists looking for pieces of an ancient vase. To draw the complete picture, we have to secure the cooperation of all stakeholders and, at the same time, make the best use of all elements of modern technology with the capacity to pull all pieces together“.
Source: EU2009.cz Press release