Tuesday, February 27, 2007

COPPA Protects Children But Challenges Lie Ahead

COPPA Protects Children But Challenges Lie Ahead
FTC reports on the five year experience on COPPA...

The Technology Curmudgeon: Sunday Driving

The Technology Curmudgeon: Sunday Driving
I love it when someone gets it and can make it look easy. This blogger has done such a great job of laying out the basics that all I can do is link.

Yeh...what HE said. :-)


toledoblade.com -- Wash. state man held in attempt to meet B.G. girl

toledoblade.com -- Wash. state man held in attempt to meet B.G. girl
This is becoming an epidemic. It has to stop.
If you're a mom and are sick and tired of these kinds of things, join us at WiredSafety.org's new WiredMoms program.
we need you.
You need us.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Friday, February 23, 2007

DenverPost.com - Domain group to .xxx-amine a spot for porn

DenverPost.com - Domain group to .xxx-amine a spot for porn
Hopefully people will take the time to understand what this is and what it isn't before reacting. Too many child protection groups think this is a recirculation of the old XXX proposals. It isn't.
This doesn't legitimize porn, doesn't legalize anything that is illegal and isn't designed to create a backdoor censorship law.
It is content-blind.
Anyone who wants to buy a XXX domain name can. They don't have to be a porn site. (Not sure why general interest sites would want one, but they could if they wanted to.) It has nothing to do with their content at all...EXCEPT they could not have child porn or sexually exploit minors. This is an important addition to our arsenal in child protection, since many countries do not criminalize child pornography. A contractual commitment, with the stick of taking their domain name if they do not comply, has the ability to do what the criminal laws cannot.

In addition, many porn sites are involved in shoddy or fraudlent business practices, selling your personal data or not securing your creditcard information. When a charge occurs that needs ot be corrected, you cannot find a real person to talk with and it creates serious problems.

A XXX registered company will have to adopt data security and privacy practices and put their domains at risk if they don't.

Is it the answer to all cyberwrongs? No. But it's a step...

Monday, February 19, 2007

World Wide Web - Judge Dismisses $30 Million MySpace Lawsuit

World Wide Web - Judge Dismisses $30 Million MySpace Lawsuit
To clarify, we don't "consult for" MySpace. We are a charitable watchdog group that works with the industry to help make the Internet safer.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What do we want from MySpace?

Judge says MySpace isn't liable for alleged sexual assault on girl - Los Angeles Times

This is not the first time individuals have sued service providers. In fact, long before the Communications Decency Act was made effective in early 1997, there were two lines of cases. One that held the service providers liable for things that their users did and the one that said they weren't responsible for what their users did. The two most significant cases involved Compuserve and Prodigy.

The issue of liability tipped on the level of control the service provider had over the users. I often explain this using publisher liability law examples (which is where the cases first were developed). When an author writes a defamatory statement for which he or she can be sued, they are not the only ones who may be liable. Their publisher also can be sued (and often is, as the only deep pocket defendant the plaintiff can find). The can be sued and held liable because they have extensive control over the final published product. They often have editorial control, fact check statements and decide what is included or trashed from the book.

Holding them liable in this case makes sense. The book is equally theirs. The liability is too.

Now, look at others who have been sued in the past in under the publisher theories. Often these include booksellers, the local book store. (Lawyers sue everyone they can find in many cases to make sure that the person who is legally liable is included.)

But what kind of control does the local book store owner have over the published work? Do they edit it? Do they review it before ordering it to sell, checking for accuracy? Do they have their teams of lawyers review the work for libelous statements? No. Of course not. They are lucky if they read the cover notes. They have no power over the book,other than to decide whether to order it or not.

So the courts have looked to this and held that those in the chain of a libelous act cannot be held liable unless they have notice or control over the libelous act. It makes sense.

One of the early cases cited this as the line of reasoning they applied in holding the service provider not liable for what their users did. But the other case said that because the service provider reserved the right to delete inappropriate posts and had a terms of service policy, that they had the power to control the content, and could be held liable.

Had this line of reasoning continued, no service provider would ever monitor their channels, channles or site, since trying ot make it safer or more appropriate could be grounds for holding them liable. That conflicted with the public interest of making sites more responsible and having them implement safer practices. Punishing the ones who tried to do something didn't make sense.

The CDA included a limitation of liability section to make sure that the service providers who took actions to try to police their site would not be penalized. It provided that a service provider, unless it was in true control of the content (such as being the editor for the content, or sponsoring it), had no liability for what their users did.

When the US Supreme Ct struck down the CDA sections on censorship grounds later that year, this provision survived.

And it should.

We can't expect an service provider to be responsible for what their millions of users do.

Now, in this case, the issues are a bit broader. A young teen girl accessed MySpace. She was under their required minimum age. MySpace initially set the minimum age for their users at 16, and then educed it to fourteen. But this young teen was 13. MySpace has no age verification. There is no technology that would permit a site to verify the age of a minor, for a free site, that would work and be reasonable. (There are strict laws regarding preteens (under 13) having to get verifiable parental consent for any interactive use, but not for teens and older.)

I understand that she put down her age (and birthdate) claiming to be 18. At that time, MySpace had a technology in place to lock out underage preteens and young teens who put in their real age, and when they were denied the ability to register with MySpace, clicked the back button, becoming older in the next screen. That means she had to put 18 in the first time she tried to register.

At that time, also, MySpace had extensive safety tips available from each page on the site. I know. I wrote them for WiredSafety.org, the Internet safety charity. This warned everyone about the risks of offline meetings, people not being who they said they were and protecting yourself online. It linked back to our charity's website, as well. I also suspect that it is unlikely that this young teen didn't know that there were risks in meeting people from the Internet in real life. (I work with thousands of teens each month. They know the rules, but sadly tend to ignore them when the promise of a soul mate or cute 16-year-old boy is involved.)

She then agreed to meet someone offline that she first met on MySpace (based on reports). They went to a movie, had something to eat, and he molested her in a parking lot. (Also based on reports.)

This is unforgiveable, horrible and painful for me to hear. I gave up my law practice to help keep kids safe online. I donate my time running a charity of all unpaid volunteers devoted to this mission. I awaken every morning to this and fall asleep at night in front of my computer doing this.

I am so sorry for this young girl and her family. I understand their pain. I have held many young people in my arms after they were victimized by people the met from the Internet. Our new site, Katiesplace.org is devoted to helping.

But, bottomline, it's not a website's fault when a teen lies about their age (after being advised of the rules of the site and safety). It's not their fault when the teen arranges to meet someone in real life. It is certainly not their fault when an adult rapes a teen.

It's so easy to lash out, looking for the one entity to blame. It's easy to blame MySpace, or any other site where this could have happened. (I suspect that she also used an instant messaging program, and perhaps the phone to set up this meeting...but I wasn't aware that other tech companies or the phone company was sued.)

MySpace has become everyone's punching bag. For the first time parents can see the stupid things many of their kids are doing and posting online. For the first time future employers, college recruiters and law school deans can access information posted by their applicants after a drunken binge on a Saturday night. Or police can see which kids are hosting a beer party when their parents are out of town. And it's easy to make friends online, to meet people with similar interests (or at least those who say they do).

We are all who we want to be online.

And it's not all bad. It's also valuable. These new technologies allow teens to raise awareness and organize support for important issues, share expertise, learn about what others are doing, be creative, network with kids from their old camp, school or town.

So, when parents are looking for someone to blame, they need to look more closely in the mirror. Not bringing lawsuits against a website. But, if we can't make parents responsibel for their teens, what hope do we have?

I always get parents to raise their right hand at my presentations and repeat after me "I am the parent!" "Because I said so" "While you live under my roof..." (See a trend here?)

Attentive and involved parents can still face the pain of their teens and preteens acting out, being hurt and in some cases being killed or taking their own lives. But, they don't want MySpace raising their kids. That's their job.

The judge in this case realized this. The holding was good law and right.

Now, let's focus on the pain this young teen is facing. We need ot find ways ot support her and her family. We also need to find ways to stop thirteen year olds from lying about their age and meeting people offline.

That doesn't come from a court...it comes from education, supervision and common sense.

So, what do I want from MySpace?

More help in spreading education and awareness, and their law enforcement cooperation, school cooperation and finding ways of helping parents understand how to keep their kids safe.

Since I first met the people at the top of MySpace, I realized that they sincerely care. That's what I want. I can't ask for more.

My 2 cents.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

New York Times articles on cyberbashing and smashing


The New York Times today quoted me on the issues of cyberbashing and smashing...where kids and teens are beating each other up on video and posting it online for everyone to see. It is happening in huge numbers...after having started years ago on cell phones in the UK, these attacks are real, staged in advance or faked...all to one purpose, making cyberstars out of the kids/teens. But their fifteen megs of fame may land them in jail. A young boy who held the video camera in a recent attacks on Long Island was cirminally charged last week.
this is serious and kids and teens are doing outrageous things on videos to become famous.
Google's YouTube has been very responsive, as has google , on safety and works closely with WiredSafety and me. But until we catch it at the source and kids realize that beating someone up is just a criminal whether your desire is to be famous or just shed blood, assualt is assualt and not excused becasue your camera shots are well lighted, we're only looking for more trouble.

To the teens I can only say "don't be stupid!" ThinkB4uClick and remember, what you post online stays online - forever!

Why make the job of the police easier? Taking a video is evidence, admissible in court...

what were they thinking?

I teach police how to find criminal activity on the social networks and YouTube. It's so easy, now.

Violence isn't something to play with. This is not a reality show. This is your life.
think about it!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

KRT Wire | 02/12/2007 | Consent program sought for MySpace

KRT Wire 02/12/2007 Consent program sought for MySpace

I want to help here. While there is no child age verifier that (IMHO) is available or would work or not put kids in greater risks of being broadcast to potential predators or marketers, there are some good ideas that we have, and would welcome AG Cooper's help with and offer our help in exchange.

That's what we're here for.


Monday, February 12, 2007

North Carolina AG proposes a package of new laws...

Protecting Children from Sexual Predators
Attorney General Roy Cooper
Feb. 12, 2007

Protecting children from sexual predators requires an aggressive and comprehensive strategy. Attorney General Roy Cooper proposes to:

Strengthen criminal penalties for possession, dissemination and production of child pornography
Require computer technicians and photo development companies to report incidences of child pornography to local law enforcement in North Carolina
Require social networking websites like MySpace to get parents’ permission before children can join
Enhance the criminal penalty for solicitation of minors for sex over the Internet when the child predator shows up at a meeting place to carry out the sexual assault on the child
Expand North Carolina law regarding child pornography to include indecent child exposure as federal law does
Make lying to a State Bureau of Investigation agent a felony
Allow state prosecutors to use an investigative grand jury to uncover and prosecute child sexual exploitation and child pornography

Summary: The Internet provides children a window to the world, but also allows child predators to search for victims easily and anonymously, around the clock. They seek their next victim undercover by lurking in online chat rooms, reading Instant Messaging profiles and viewing online photographs.
Already Attorney General Roy Cooper has created a special unit at the SBI to find and catch Internet predators, and it leads North Carolina's Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. A recent case highlights the challenge:
In Eastern North Carolina, a middle-aged sexual predator told a young girl online that he was 17. He found out where she lived, and went to her home and introduced himself, saying he was the 17-year-old’s father. To get close to the girl, he tried to date her mother. The masquerade lasted for months. Eventually the 13-year-old girl discovered that her online boyfriend and the predator were the same person, but continued to talk with him. The predator begged the girl to run away from home. He was arrested by SBI agents and local law enforcement one early morning while trying to pick up a decoy SBI agent posing as the girl. Police found tape and rope in the predator’s truck. During a search of his computer, agents found child pornography.
These criminals live and prey across the state. Recently, the task force, led by the SBI, served 58 search warrants on suspects in Wilmington, Greenville, Rocky Mount, Fayetteville, Raleigh, Cary, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Charlotte, Boone, Asheville and other cities. The operation began with SBI investigations that resulted in a statewide sweep to stop file sharing programs which allow criminals to trade and distribute child pornography directly with each other. Tips come from out of state and across the world:

A Kansas ICAC Agent with undercover SBI agents found a suspect in Clayton, NC after the suspect sent a video of himself to an officer posing as a 12-year-old. A decoy officer arrested him at a park after the predator arrived thinking he would be meeting a 12-year-old child to have sex. When the SBI went to the predator’s house, they found more than 30 downloads of child pornography running simultaneously. The computer also revealed video and pictures of the man molesting his stepdaughter. Without the undercover operation, law enforcement would not have caught him as the girl was too fearful to come forward. He subsequently pleaded guilty to 1st Degree Statutory Rape and 1st Degree Sexual Exploitation of a minor.

Despite these successful prosecutions, predators’ use of the Internet to hunt for new child victims continues. To better protect our children, Attorney General Roy Cooper makes the following recommendations:

I. Strengthen criminal penalties for possession, dissemination and production of child pornography

Incidents of child sexual exploitation reported in North Carolina continue to rise. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which tracks online and telephone reports of child solicitations and exploitation, had 11 incidents reported in 2001; in 2005, 252 were reported and in 2006 the number topped 400 (NCMEC, Dec. 7, 2006 YTD).

Law enforcement officers report and a study has shown that child predators often use and distribute child pornography as well. Federal law imposes stronger criminal penalties for the possession, dissemination and production of child pornography than North Carolina currently provides. Possession of child pornography under federal law provides up to 10 years active prison time. Under North Carolina law, possession of child pornography for first-time offenders carries no active prison time.

II. Require computer technicians and photo development companies to report incidences of child pornography to local law enforcement

Federal law requires Internet Service Providers to report incidences of the electronic communication of child pornography to the Cyber Tip Line at the NCMEC, which forwards it to law enforcement. Likewise, North Carolina should require computer technicians and photo developers to report child pornography to law enforcement and provide civil immunity for such reports made in good faith. A recent example shows how this information can help:

In 2006, law enforcement in the Triangle arrested an offender for possession of child pornography. He had printed explicit pictures of an 8-year-old girl at a Target store using a false identity at a self-service machine. Target notified police, who arrested him when he printed pictures at another Target store. During a search of his home, police found video footage of the man molesting the child from the pictures. Child pornography peddlers are most likely to develop pictures at stores or online photo sites. These predators often produce child porn by documenting molestation of a child, and then developing the images. If these incidents are reported, law enforcement can find these predators quickly, protect the children who are being harmed, and prevent these offenders from finding their next victim.

III. Require social networking websites to get parents’ permission before children can join

Websites that encourage children to share personal information like photos and talk online with each other give predators easy targets. Last fall the SBI arrested a North Carolina police officer for raping a 14-year-old girl he had lured through MySpace, a site that hosts detailed profiles of millions of children and adults. Few safeguards keep the children away from adult users, so child users are exposed to adults seeking sex as well as lewd pictures and words inappropriate for kids.

Many dozens of children report sexual abuse by predators who used social networking sites to find their victims. This proposal requires that these websites get parents’ OK before minors join and post personal information, and give parents the chance to see what their children post.

IV. Enhance the criminal penalty for solicitation of minors for sex over the Internet when the child predator shows up at a meeting place to carry out the sexual assault on the child

The SBI and local law enforcement have had success using Cooper’s new law that makes it a felony for an Internet predator to solicit a child for sex, including an undercover officer he or she believes to be a child. This law also requires convicted online predators to be added to the state’s Sex Offender Registry and to provide DNA samples for the state’s convicted offender database.

However, North Carolina should enact a tougher criminal penalty for a predator who solicits a child over the Internet and then follows through by showing up at the meeting place. An example:

In August of this year, a longtime middle school teacher who also worked as a coach was charged with electronically soliciting a child for sex. The defendant communicated by instant messages with a 15-year-old boy inviting him for a sexual encounter. The boy’s father found out and told law enforcement, and a deputy posed as the boy to set up a meeting. The offender arrived with lubricant, two condoms and a digital camera. Investigators later found thousands of child porn videos and photos and charged him with 20 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

V. Expand North Carolina law regarding child pornography to include indecent child exposure as federal law does

North Carolina’s child pornography statute currently makes it a crime to produce, distribute, or possess material containing “a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity” (NCGS §§ 14-190.16 through 17A). Sexual activity is defined in section 14-190.13, but does not include the suggestive display of the genital area of the minor. Federal law includes the state definition, but also the “lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person” (18 USCS § 2256) and provides a broader definition thus providing greater protection for our children against those who attempt to sexually exploit them.

VI. Make lying to an SBI agent a felony

More than 10,000 convicted sex offenders currently live in North Carolina. Many share pornographic images of children with each other, and those who do often know who the child is and where they live. Making lying to an SBI Agent a felony would provide a critical incentive for sex offenders to tell investigators where the child is so that the SBI can rescue the child and prevent further exploitation.

SBI agents know witnesses withhold information or lie outright. When an FBI agent is present, a dishonest witness can be charged with a crime, since federal law makes it a felony to lie to federal agents.

The SBI handles the state’s most complex and challenging felony criminal investigations in North Carolina. This new provision will provide the SBI with a critical investigative tool to compel witnesses to tell the truth. Whether it is a crime of murder, rape, child sexual exploitation, child pornography, or the embezzlement of private or public funds this strong investigative tool will help apprehend perpetrators and provide real penalties for those who deceive.

VII. Allow state prosecutors to use an investigative grand jury to uncover and prosecute child sexual exploitation and child pornography

Under this new law, state prosecutors could convene a grand jury to question witnesses under oath, subpoena records and deliberate evidence of child pornography and child sexual exploitation. A grand jury allows prosecutors to subpoena witnesses who otherwise might refuse to cooperate. Federal authorities have the power to convene a grand jury in child pornography and child sexual exploitation cases, but state prosecutors don’t. This new authority is a tool that law enforcement and prosecutors can use to identify those who produced and disseminated the child pornography and prevent further victimization of children.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Kids, porn and cell phones...do you know what YOUR kids are surfing?

7Online.com: New York City and Tri-State News from WABC-TV
a new prepaid cell phone offers adult-themed screen savers. Most parents don't think about what their kids can access on their cell phone, especially with prepaid phones like this. Walmart sells then. Surprising since I understand that at least one of their preloaded screen savers is labelled by parents as "soft porn." Parents really need to think before they plunk down their hard earned money.

It's not just the computer that can access the Internet.

Behind every picture there's pain....our PSA to stop child pornography!

Somedays....like today, it gets hard, it gets old.

I never really thought I would blog about how I felt. I blog about safety, law and kids and families online. I blog as a public service and information outlet. But, I'm a mother of two, a woman and someone who has seen (sadly) more than I ever wanted to see about the horrors online and in life.

I posted the intro to my new book, explaining why I gave up my practice of law, sold everything I owned and donate my time running WiredSafety. It's a story I am asked to repeat often, for TV, magazines and other people's books. I can tell it quickly and no longer feel like I have to vomit when doing so. It has become a practiced speech.

I often cut out the more graphic details about how she was forced to be positioned, or the pain on her face. How her eyes were squeezed shut and her hair was plastered with sweat, and her face drenched in tears.

But, it's there. Like a hot branding iron applied to your brain. It is deeply burned into my mind and my heart. I tried searching for her for years. It became a mission. I needed to hold her and tell her that it would be okay, that someone would help her.

But I failed.

Her image is the last I see before falling asleep, and the reason I awake in the middle of the night.

I wish I had a magic wand to stop this torture of children. But I don't.

While I applaude arrests like these, and pray for more - soon! I think about all of the thousands upon thousands of children who continue to be raped for the pleasure of those willing ot pay for those images. For all those being raped on demand, by text and IM requests to the molesters, in real time...to those whos pain will be used to fill the coffers of the animals who do this and support it.

Today I am happy that some children's pain will be over, and saddened that so many more need to be saved.

Today I feel how little I have been able to accomplish in this, no matter how much time I devote to it and how hard I work and how much money I donated to this effort.

Today I thanks my thousands of volunteers...and hope for thousands more.

Today I ask anyone reading this post to think a mooment about what you can do to help stop the pain of these children. Do something, even a simple prayer for them would help.

Do something.

When child pornography arrests are announced, I relive that moment...why I do this. It's because of a little 3-1/2 yr old I saw being raped online...

I hadn’t planned on becoming an international leader in Internet child protection. I began as a mother and lawyer. Protecting other people’s children came later.

My Internet safety career started a few years after the Web was launched, when I was asked to appear on CNN and talk about Internet censorship and law. Miles O’Brien (a CNN host) asked me about what parents could do to protect their children online. As a result of my interview, thousands of parents and grandparents called me asking me how to keep their children safe. I explained that I protected corporations in cyberspace, not children. But they kept calling anyway. So I called my sister, a pediatrician, and asked her to recommend a book for these parents to read.

Unfortunately, we were surprised to learn that there were no books at that time on this topic. So, she asked me to write one. I refused, pleading that I was too busy as a lawyer to write for parents. She told me that if I didn’t write the book, she would refer this to a higher authority – our mother! She did. And my first book was published six months later, in 1997.

But what really changed my life is the image of a little 3-1/2 year old girl I discovered in 1998. I had just started running WiredSafety.org (under its former name), when someone from Argentina sent me an e-mail reporting a child pornography website, and asking me to shut it down and help bring the pedophiles to justice. I clicked on the link to the website and saw a picture of this little girl being raped. I was devastated by what I saw, and devoted many years trying to find her and save her from this horrible torture. I was never able to find and save her, but I was able to find and save others.

I shut down my law firm and sold my house to help fund our programs, and never looked back. I realized that out of everything I do, protecting children and helping parents understand how to keep them safe, is the most important. I now donate most of my time to protecting children and their families in cyberspace and on mobile technologies. I founded and donate my time to running the world’s largest and oldest Internet safety group, WiredSafety.org. Through its thousands of unpaid volunteers operating from their home and office computers around the world, WiredSafety.org provides a helping hand to everyone who needs one online. We work closely with law enforcement agencies around the world to help bring cyber-criminals to justice and protect all children, not just our own. And we teach parents what they need to know to take an active role in protecting their children online.

What started gradually and unplanned, has become my life. And it is a richer and more fulfilling life than I would have had running an international law firm and living in a big house in the United States. I now count my successes one child at a time.

Child Pornography...behind every picture there's pain!

Once again international law enforcement have worked together to help bring down rings of child pornographers and molesters online. Today a series of major arrests were conducted simultaneously around the world of people involved in selling, producing and buying child porn online. Many are from the US.

In the past, when massive arrests were announced, many of those being charged elected to commit suicide before facing jail. They were humiliated and concerned about the effect this would have on their families.

The time ot think about that is before you put your creditcard on the line to subscribe to a child pornography website, not after.

While we may not be able to stop diehard pedophiles from doing this, we have to stop those who do is recreationally. The more people willing to pay for these images ad videos, the more children will be raped producing them. It's a simple supply and demand issue.

With law enforcement catching up on technology, and the child pornographers and molesters getting brazen, more arrests will follow.

This isn't a ame or a fifteen year old posing in a sexy swimsuit. These are 2, 3, 4 year olds, sometimes even younger, being raped for YOUR pleasure.

It has to stop.

My congratulations to all of those involved. God bless.

To those buying, producing and distributing this horrible stuff...they'll find you. If not today, someday. Think about that. Now.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Taking Another Look At That "Ambush Porn" Story - Public Eye

Taking Another Look At That "Ambush Porn" Story - Public Eye

The blogger here criticized the study results, for many of the same reasons I did. Parents had to give consent, and it was done on the phone about a controversial issue that kids may not want their parents to now about. But our reasons for ciricizing the results are as far apart as they can be.

He believes that kids will claim that they saw porn by accident, not that they were searching for it. I think that almost all kids have been exposed to unwanted porn online.

The blogger might be right had the parents uncovered their kids surfing porn and the kids needed to claim innocence. That they had been sent it without their involvement. Unintended exposure.

But these were kids who risked the Internet being taken away because they admitted to any exposure to porn. I was amazed that ANY kids said they had been exposed to porn by accident or on purpose.

the blogger said he uses the Internet and hadn't been exposed to undesired porn online. But adults use it differently from the way kids do. No adult knows what it si really like to surf like a kid.

I have posted a section of our whitepaper on unscrupulous marketing techniques by some pornographers. Read it. It may teach us all something.


Teen Girls are having a blast on the new Flip....

CondeNet Launches Flip, New Online Outlet for Teen Girls' CreativityTuesday February 6, 11:58 am ET
NEW YORK, Feb. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- CondeNet today announces the launch of Flip (http://www.flip.com/), a new site for teen girls. Flip.com provides teens with an innovative way to express themselves and connect with each other online. More than just another social network, Flip offers its users powerful but easy-to-use interactive tools, inspiration from experts and editors to spark their imagination, and a stage on which to showcase their talents.
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At the heart of Flip are Flipbooks -- customizable, multimedia scrapbooks/zines/journals that Flip members make and share. Users can upload their own photos, songs, and videos as well as choose from a large collection of stickers, wallpaper, animations, and music provided on the site. Flip members can draw, write, add a sound track, rotate and size elements, add pages, and even choose page transitions. The result is a more powerful and personal way for girls to express themselves than anything else currently online.
"Flip combines social networking with online scrapbooking, and it's clearly an addictive mix," said Jamie Pallot, Editorial Director, CondeNet. "The results so far are amazing -- girls have made beautiful, funny, moving Flipbooks about everything from Barack Obama to their favorite indie rock bands. The level of creativity and ingenuity we're seeing is really impressive."
While the majority of the Flip experience is created by its users, CondeNet has developed four channels that reflect key areas of teen girls' lives and interests. These are: My Life; Entertainment; Style; and The World. Each section highlights editorial content, members, Flipbooks, and clubs specific to that category. Another special section of Flip, titled Projects & Contests, gives members ideas, inspiration, and incentives to create Flipbooks and offers the chance to be recognized for their work.
Additional Flip features include:
-- My Media -- Users upload their photos, videos, or audio files for use
in their Flipbooks. No storage limits are imposed.
-- Flip Media -- Flip provides access to hundreds of backgrounds,
stickers, animations, and more that girls can use in their Flipbooks.
eMusic, the world's largest retailer of independent music, will provide
more than 100 free tracks that can be used by Flip members as sound
tracks to their Flipbooks.
-- Clubs -- Users start or join groups organized around shared interests.
Clubs can be about anything the users choose and are creative
environments that encourage the making of Flipbooks.
-- Profiles -- Profiles are the user's "face" on Flip. They can say a
little about themselves as well as list their Flipbooks, friends, and
-- Friends -- Users can invite friends to join their network and can
designate certain Flipbooks for viewing only by friends. Users can
explore their friends' profiles and their friends' friends' profiles.
A Collaborative Approach to Advertising
Flip is free to members, with a focused group of advertisers participating as sponsors. Like those involved in the creation of Flip, these sponsors are interested in forging a deeper connection and conversation with teen girls. While there will be no advertising content within or around Flipbooks themselves, each sponsor is offering a range of assets related to their brands (i.e., graphics, logos, photography) in Flip Media, so girls can use them as further fodder for Flipbook creation.
"The site was created to meet the needs of both teen girls and marketers, without compromising the product for either," said Sarah Chubb, President, CondeNet. "Our advertising approach allows teens to connect with marketers in a very natural way, where the ads are truly a desirable part of the content of the site."
Advertisers currently partnering with Flip include Clean & Clear®, Nike, Nordstrom, PacSun, and Vera Wang Princess. In addition to the editorial project ideas that CondeNet will frequently post in the Projects & Contests section, special featured contests will also be sponsored by site advertisers.
The Technology Behind Flip
To provide a unique experience for users, Flip uses some of the most current technologies available to create and manipulate content online. The site was built on Java/J2EE, Flash, and OpenSource Technologies/Frameworks. In addition, the site uses advanced Flash technologies such as Flex to enhance the interactive experience and bring the "feel" of scrapbook pages to life.
Safety and Security for Teens Using Flip Safety is a top priority for Flip. The site is taking a number of approaches to safety, including:
-- Clear Messaging: Internet safety tips for users, Community Rules, and a
Note to Parents and Guardians will be accessible from all site pages.
-- Security Features: Email verification is required for registration,
and Flip does not ask for or require detailed personal information.
Flip also uses sophisticated scanning technology to help identify
potentially inappropriate images, videos, and text.
-- Moderation: A Community Manager and staff of moderators are responsible
for overseeing the content on Flip as well as for determining
moderation policies, procedures, and best practices.
In addition, Flip has partnered with WiredSafety.org, the largest online safety, education, and help group in the world, and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, to provide tools and resources for members so they can have a safer experience online.
About Flip
Flip, a new site for teen girls from CondeNet, provides girls with an innovative way to be creative, express themselves, and connect with each other online. The heart of Flip is the Flipbook -- customizable, multimedia scrapbooks/zines/journals that girls make and share. Users can upload their own photos, songs, and videos as well as choose from a large collection of stickers, wallpaper, animations, and music that Flip provides them. Through the use of a set of interactive tools, Flipbooks can be designed however members choose. They can draw, write, add a sound track, rotate and size elements, add pages, choose page transitions, and more. In addition to making Flipbooks, girls can also create profiles; start and join clubs; send and receive messages; share and comment on each other's stuff; and chat on message boards. Find Flip on the Web at http://www.flip.com/.
Press Contacts:
Lesley Weiner Jennifer Miller
CooperKatz for CondeNet CondeNet
212.455.8079 212.790.5198
lweiner@cooperkatz.com jmiller@condenet.com

MySA.com: Metro | State

MySA.com: Metro State
Gangs online...they are working online to recruit suburban kids.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Kids and Porn Online- it's far worse than you think!

Kids and Porn Online...It's Far Worse Than You Think
Almost 50% of Young People Between 10 and 17 Have Admitted to Being Exposed to Porn Online According to a Recent Report

But our polls of thousands and thousands of young people show that 90% of these young people have been exposed to porn online, and the only reason the other 10% haven't is because they have parental controls still installed. Why the discrepancy? The report was conducted from a survey of young people after their parents were asked for their consent, and on the phone. How many young people would admit to porn exposures? It's amazing that as many admitted it as did.
by Parry Aftab, copyright 2007, all rights reserved

Parents need to realize that if their kids are online and unfiltered, most if not all have been exposed to porn.

I recently spoke at a school in Atlanta. It was a very elite private school, with bright and terrific students. I was doing a presentation to 4th graders. My presentations to students are very interactive with lots of questions and answers. I asked them how many had seen "bad stuff" online (which one of the students defined as "naked people"). Almost all of the hands went up.

The parents, standing in the back of the room, gasped and in some cases burst into tears. They were shocked that their 8 year olds had seen these kinds of things. They were devastated to learn that their children hadn't come to them for help. These were caring parents, relatively tech-savvy, well-educated and affluent. If they didn't know, what kind of a chance do less tech-savvy, less educated parents have?

Our kids, all our kids, will have been exposed to some pretty disgusting stuff. The Internet porn is not our parents' tame Playboy magazine. Our children are not prepared for this. Frankly, I don't know many adults who are. So, what do we do?

An Overview of the Porn Problem

Open your e-mail box or conduct a search for anything online and you are likely to run into graphic sexual images or content whether you like it or not. And our children are often more likely to be targeted by pornographic images or messages than we are, because of how they communicate online and how easy they are for the marketers to find.

Most Internet users are unhappy about the continued growth of marketing abuses and questionable advertising practices by many members of the pornography industry. What used to be just an annoyance and considered part of the price of using the Internet is now becoming a more serious problem. It is also becoming one that parents increasingly are insisting something be done to address.[1]

When anyone searches for information online, or mistypes or misspells a domain name (“typo-squatting”), they may find themselves at a pornography site.

When they open their e-mail boxes or instant messaging programs they may find themselves targeted by unscrupulous ads including those for “young teens,” “preteens” and “little girls or boys” sex (often mere fraudulent advertising), or sites promising child pornography and “lolitas.”

They seek images for school reports, using innocent topic names, such as "toys," "japanese dolls," and "american girl" only to encounter pornographic images. Many of these images show graphic sexual activities which can be frightening and hurtful to children and preteens, as well as many teens.

To compound the problem, when they stumble upon a pornography site, they may find themselves locked in an avalanche of new pornography windows, unable to escape without having to shut down their computers (“mousetrapping”).

And sometimes when they type in the URL of their favorite site, they end up at a pornography site instead, either because traffic for that site had been redirected by a pornography site (“hijacking”) or because the siteowner had forgotten to renew their domain name registration (“porn-napping”).

As competition among the pornography sites increases, these marketing abuses increase. Unintended exposure is a serious and growing problem. These marketing abuses and questionable practices currently include:

· Child pornography (real and virtual)
· Sexual exploitation of children (including false advertising of child pornography and use of terms implying child pornography, such as “preteens,” “little boys” and “lolitas”)
· Fraudulent headers in promotional e-mails
· Fraudulent or misleading metatags, keywords, descriptions and listings with search engines
· Typo-squatting[3], particularly those intended to attract children
· Misleading domain names or keywords, particularly those intended to attract children
· The use of terms to attract those seeking child pornography
· Intellectual property violations, piracy and counterfeiting
· Browser hijacking/ Mousetrapping
· Slammed home page changes
· Spyware and adware, pop-ups and pop-unders[4]
· Graphic images on the non-subscriber front pages
· Graphic images in unsolicited e-mail and instant messaging links
· Spoofing and phishing practices[5]
· Domain-napping/ Porn-napping[6]
· Criminal re-dialers and similar schemes[7]
· Page-jacking[8]
· Malicious code, criminal intrusions and Trojan horses

To quote so many parents, “something has to be done.” And while some of them may support an eventual total ban on all pornography and some others support an unrestricted right for adults to view pornography, all of them support an immediate solution to the issue of unintended exposure.

What is the solution? It actually has several components.

The first is education- of parents, teachers and the kids themselves. They need to understand how unscrupulous websites can target young people by "tricking them into clicking" and what technologies and tools exist to help block access to these sites and marketing tactics.

The second is creating laws that will fill any loopholes for unscrupulous marketing tactics, where the pornography sites pretend to be kid-friendly sites to draw Internet users of all ages to their site, using metatags, misleading domain names, typos, TLDs designed to confuse users (.com for a favorite .gov sites, for example whitehouse.com) etc.

The third is providing sufficient funding of law enforcement and prosecutorial groups to take on the bad guys and put those who are breaking the laws into jail where they belong.

The fourth is teaching everyone where to report sites they find are violating the law and where to find safe and fun sites for kids.

And fifth is reminding the adult sites that preying on kids is bad business and finding ways to identify those who have adopted responsible marketing and security practices.

Until then, surveys that demonstrate that only 42% of young people between 10 and 17 have been exposed to sexually explicit content online under-estimate the problem by 1/2.

If our kids are online and are not fully filtered, they have been exposed to porn. Sadly, because they are afraid of their parents' reactions, embarrassed and worried that they might have done something wrong, kids won't tell their parents.

So, once again, parents will be the last to know.

[1] The pornography marketing complaints received from parents and children themselves by WiredSafety.org and its family of sites has increased substantially over the last several months. From approximately 30 daily complaints from parents/grandparents and teachers about unintended exposure to online pornography, the number has increased to hundreds a day. Sixty-five percent of these same parents/grandparents have indicated that they either support an adult’s right to access legal pornography or recognize their legal right to do so. They have also, until now, been unhappy with (but haven’t lodged any formal complaints against) the onslaught of online marketing, misleading practices and sexually-graphic images they have encountered. They largely believed that nothing could be done to stop it. That has now changed. Now they are looking for ways to make it stop. More than mere technical tools, they want help, either from their ISPs or the government. They want someone to do something to help prevent their children from being confronted with pornography when searching for innocent sites, playing games and even using their computer in an “always on” environment, when pop-ups will appear on screen unexpectedly.
[2] “SPIM” is the new name for unsolicited bulk instant messages. “Spam” is the e-mail equivalent (no relation to Hormel’s luncheon meat).
[3] When someone, generally a pornographic website operator, registers the common misspellings of a popular site, especially one aimed at children.
[4]“The websites that attract children and teens in droves are the ones most often targeted by some in the porn industry via pesky pop-up ads… A pop-up is an advertisement that comes up when you first click onto a website… Designed to draw your attention to an aspect of the site you're visiting or to sell you a product or service, most are harmless. But as many parents have discovered a large number of pop-ups include offensive photos of sex acts not suitable for young eyes. To see these hardcore pop-ups you usually have to come across a porn site, says Cathy Wing, director of community programming for Media Awareness Network. `Once you stumble on a porn site or go to one purposely it will trigger these,’ she said from her office in Ottawa. Even worse is when sites aimed at teens _ skateboarding, music, video games _ trigger pop-ups with questionable content, Wing said. ‘Tons of these sites that teens like to go to will eventually lead them to porn. That's the problem,’ she said. ‘It's the kind of sites that kids go to that they target.’” The-Cyberfile, Bgt , BY ANGELA PACIENZA, 25 February 2004, The Canadian Press.
[5] Pretending to be another website, often to trick people into providing their financial information and creditcard details for criminal purposes.
[6] WiredKids.org’s teen site, WiredTeens.com was recently grabbed by a pornographic website operator. It previously pointed to the WiredTeens.org main site. WiredSafety’s executive director, cyberlawyer Parry Aftab, is contemplating bringing criminal charges unless the site is returned.
[7] “Modem Hijacking: The Commission has used its training and tools to stop some of the most egregious and technically sophisticated schemes seen on the Internet. For example, the FTC's lawsuit against Verity International, Ltd., was prompted by the influx of hundreds of complaints in the last week of September 2000 through the CRC and logged in Consumer Sentinel. Investigation showed that high charges on consumers' phone lines were being initiated by ‘dialer’ software downloaded from teaser adult web sites. Many line subscribers had no idea why they received bills for these charges. Others discovered that a minor in their household -- or another person who did not have the line subscriber's authorization – accessed the Web sites and downloaded the dialer software. The dialer program allowed users to access the ‘videotext’ adult content without any means of verifying that the user was the line subscriber, or was authorized by the line subscriber to incur charges on the line for such service. Once downloaded and executed, however, the program actually hijacked the consumer's computer modem by surreptitiously disconnecting the modem from the consumer's local Internet Service Provider, dialing a high-priced international long distance call to Madagascar, and reconnecting the consumer's modem to the Internet from some overseas location, opening at an adult web site. The line subscriber -- the consumer responsible for paying phone charges on the line -- then began incurring charges on his or her phone lines for the remote connection to the Internet at the rate of $3.99 per minute.” (Prepared Witness Testimony ,The Committee on Energy and Commerce, W.J. "Billy Tauzin" Chairman, On-line Fraud and Crime: Are Consumers Safe?" Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection , May 23, 2001, Ms. Eileen Harrington, Associate Director of Marketing Practices Bureau of Competition Federal Trade Commission.)
[8] "Pagejacking" and "Mousetrapping": “Earlier, in FTC v. Carlos Pereira d/b/a atariz.com, the Commission attacked a world-wide, high-tech scheme that allegedly ‘pagejacked’ consumers and then ‘mousetrapped’ them at adult pornography sites. ‘Pagejacking’ is making exact copies of someone else's Web page, including the imbedded text that informs search engines about the subject matter of the site. The defendants allegedly made unauthorized copies of 25 million pages from other Web sites, including those of Paine Webber and the Harvard Law Review. The defendants made one change on each copied page that was hidden from view: they inserted a command to ‘redirect’ any surfer coming to the site to another Web site that contained sexually-explicit, adult-oriented material. Internet surfers searching for subjects as innocuous as ‘Oklahoma tornadoes’ or ‘child car seats’ would type those terms into a search engine and the search results would list a variety of related sites, including the bogus, copycat site of the defendants. Surfers assumed from the listings that the defendants' sites contained the information they were seeking and clicked on the listing. The "redirect" command imbedded in the copycat site immediately rerouted the consumer to an adult site hosted by the defendants. Once there, defendants ‘mousetrapped’ consumers by incapacitating their Internet browser's ‘back’ and ‘close’ buttons, so that while they were trying to exit the defendants' site, they were sent to additional adult sites in an unavoidable, seemingly endless loop.” (Id.)

Kids being exposed to porn online

Today a new study was released, discussing how often kids are exposed to pornography online. While I deeply respect the researchers in this study, you will note that the kids were asked if they had been exposed to porn after their parents were asked for their consent. They were also asked on the phone.

In my own studies, almost 100% of the kids ten and over have been exposed to porn online. they just don't tell their parents becasue they are either embarassed or frightened of their reaction.

so how many kids are exposed to unwanted porn online? all of them.