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11 May 2006

Safety on the mobile Internet meeting

safeline.gr invited to a focus group

Through rather random events we learned about safeline.gr inviting the public to a meeting with the title "Safety on the mobile Internet". There wasn't much of the public following the invitation, the audience consisted of Mary and me. But we were truly interested despite that.

Safeline.gr is a website and organization that is still very unknown but very important. They are a hotline for reports on images of child abuse, racist and xenophobic content that violates Greek law, and other content that might be illegal. They operate in coordination with Greek providers and the Greek police's cyber crime office. If you ever saw something that you thought should be reported to the police - but you didn't because the local cops probably don't know a network from a clothes line - safeline.gr is the place to go.


The meeting started out with an introduction that cleared up a bit of our confusion with the name. Safety on the Internet is a wide field, and the term "mobile Internet" isn't so clearly defined either. Turns out safeline.gr is mostly interested in protecting children. Be that from exposing them to abuse, to upsetting content, or letting them fall prey to financial trouble or exploitation. The first few talks appeared much like on a convention, the presenter giving us information about his/her field of work. A lot of this stuff repeated the others, which seems to be an inherent problem in a meeting where everybody brings their talk without knowing what the others will be saying. Contents, notes, and even video should appear online some day. Until that, here are some of my thoughts...

While some of the talks were a bit technical, they weren't really geeky, except maybe for the prof from the ics.forth.gr who showed off his work with honeypot nets and showed the (mostly grey haired) participants that we have a problem with all the virii and worms floating around. The chief security guy from provider OTEnet talked about their abuse@ department, which he claims does much more than just lift the receiver. He says they have shut down customers for breach of Netiquette reasons, even if there were no actual laws broken.

After a while some of the talks began to be more opinionated, zooming in on the problem set of security for children, and taking wild stabs at solutions. We had exponents from consumer and children's rights organizations with us. So what were suggestions? Do we filter? Do we control children's every step (with the guy from Naftemporiki suggesting parents to force children to reveal their email login data, he got a good laugh and many shaking heads for that - I believe it won't take the kids long to open another hidden mail account). Do we educate children? Their parents? Do we (can we even) outlaw and censor some content on the Internet?

Personally I don't think there are any easy solutions to be had. And I was satisfied that neither did safeline.gr get confused and vouched for shot-from-the-hip solutions. Their Safety Tips (Στα Ελληνικά Συμβουλές ασφάλειας) are down to earth and pretty decent in my oppinion. The last bit of the meeting was spent discussing getting the message out. Where it is hard to reach the greek public through TV, because TV stations aren't interested in plain messages and educating their viewers, I think that spreading the word for safeline.gr via the Web and even by snowballing mobile messages might be the thing to do.

Posted by betabug at 17:18 | Comments (2) | Trackbacks (1)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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Comments
Re: Safety on the mobile Internet meeting

Hi!

Being a father to three kids I am very interested in their surfing/chatting safety.

Sascha, it seems that the the Safety Tips web site is not responding.

Reuven

Posted by: Reuven at May 14,2006 10:16
Re: Safety on the mobile Internet meeting

Indeed, it seems they have a problem and are offline right now. I guess they will be back on Monday. Should have written down a phone number so I could call them and give them notice of the problem.

Posted by: betabug at May 14,2006 12:49
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Another Athens Panorama

Another panorama picture, Athens from above, as seen from the roof of the Divani Caravel
hotel. I took these pictures when I was there for the safeline.gr meeting. The day was a bit
cloudy and one can't see the swimming pool on the pic - the pool is ...

Read the linking post here: ch-athens at May 22,2006 23:53
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