new Internet Safety Technical Task Force

by on February 28, 2008 · 0 comments

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School has just announced the formation of the Internet Safety Technical Task Force, and they were kind enough to ask me to serve as a member. According to the press release they sent out this morning:

The Task Force will evaluate a broad range of existing and state-of-the-art online safety technologies, including a review of identity authentication tools to help sites enforce minimum age requirements. The Task Force is a central element of the Joint Statement on Key Principles of Social Networking Safety announced in January 2008 by MySpace and the Attorneys General Multi-State Working Group on Social Networking. Fifty Attorneys General adopted the “Joint Statement” with the goal of improving online safety standards industry-wide.

[I discussed the details of that My Space-AG “joint statement in this report back in January.] The Task Force is composed of industry-leading Internet businesses, non-profit organizations, and technology companies, including: AOL, Aristotle, AT&T, Bebo, Center for Democracy & Technology,, Comcast, Enough is Enough, Facebook, Google, the Family Online Safety Institute, iKeepSafe, the Institute for Policy Innovation, Linden Lab, Loopt, IDology, Microsoft, MySpace, NCMEC, Progress and Freedom Foundation, Sentinel Tech, Symantec, Verizon,, Xanga, and Yahoo! The Task Force will be chaired by John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center.

Over the past year, I have been very active on many of the issues that will be at the core of the task force’s mission, including the identify authentication / age verification debate. For those who might be interested, I’ve included the relevant PFF studies and links down below the fold. I’m looking forward to working with the other members of the Task Force to conduct a comprehensive review of these issues. I’m sure I will be reporting here occasionally on our progress.

Recent PFF research on online safety, social networking, & age verification

[book] “Parental Controls and Online Child Protection

[white paper] “Congress, Content Regulation, and Child Protection: The Expanding Legislative Agenda

[legislative index] “Online Child Protection & Online Content Regulation Bills, A Joint PFF / CDT Report

[white paper] “The MySpace-AG Agreement: A Model Code of Conduct for Social Networking?”

[white paper] “Social Networking and Age Verification: Many Hard Questions; No Easy Solutions

[speech] “Social Networking Websites & Child Protection: Toward a Rational Dialogue

[event transcript] “Age Verification for Social Networking Sites: Is It Possible? And Desirable?

[white paper] “Two Sensible, Education-Based Legislative Approaches to Online Child Safety

[op-ed] “Is MySpace the Government’s Space?

[interview] “Why MySpace is a Safe Place,”

[white paper] “Saving Online Free Speech: A Voluntary Code of Conduct for Internet Operators

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