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RE: In Opposition to Cyber-Safety Committee

  • To: "'Joan Irvine'" <joan@xxxxxxxxx>, <cyber-safety-petition@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: In Opposition to Cyber-Safety Committee
  • From: "Joan Irvine" <joan@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2009 13:40:41 -0700


Although their intention is good - to protect children - which I totally
agree with, I disagree with the creation of the Cyber Safety Committee and
agree with many others that this is inappropriate for ICANN to become
involved in.


There are many well-respected groups that have conducted research on the
issue of Cyber-Safety and most have concluded that there are already
numerous child protection tools and the best solution is good parenting and


The Internet Safety Technical Task Force (ISTTF) is a group of Internet
businesses, non-profit organizations, academics, and technology companies
that joined together to identify effective tools and technologies to create
a safer environment on the Internet for youth. The Task Force submitted its
Final Report in December, 2008.  Their consensus was that there is no silver
bullet, and that good parenting and education are the keys to the solution.


In Progressive Freedom Foundation Fellow Adam Thierer's white paper "Who
Needs Parental Controls? Assessing the Relevant Market for Parental Control
(http://pff.org/issues-pubs/pops/2009/pop16.5parentalcontrolsmarket.pdf) he
stated "Parental control technologies are now ubiquitously available,
increasingly easy to use, and also increasingly free-of-charge. Indeed,
there has never been a time in our nation's history when parents have had
more tools and methods at their disposal to help them decide what
constitutes acceptable media content in their homes and in the lives of
their children."


The Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection, which I represent, is
an online child protection association that is funded by the adult
entertainment industry. Through the help of our sponsors, ASACP created the
Restricted to Adults - RTA Website Label (a machine-readable meta-tag) and
offers it free of charge.  RTA demonstrates the adult industry's voluntary
commitment to helping parents prevent minors from viewing age-inappropriate
content, and we are pleased to note that the major parental control software
companies, operating systems, and search engines recognize RTA. In just two
years, over four million sites have adopted the RTA tag and there are over
10 billion hits daily to pages labeled with RTA. ASACP has been honored by
the American Society of Association Executives and the Center for
Association Leadership by being named the 2008 overall winner in the
Associations Make a Better World Awards.   ASACP believes that parents need
to use the available tools to protect their children online 


In his opening remarks at the Family Online Safety Institute's annual
conference, CEO Stephen Balkam said "Let's move away from fear-mongering and
talk more about conveying to every child a sense of digital citizenship.
Yes, let's teach them the basics of online stranger danger, but let's also
convey to them the knowledge, skills and values they'll need to make wise
and safe choices online."


Let us recognize that for a small percentage of teens, those who are at-risk
in the offline world, that they will be the ones most at-risk online. These
are the teens - boys and girls - that will act out and seek out dangerous
and risky situations 


In fact the largest growing production and distribution of child pornography
is not on the internet, nor by criminals, but by minors themselves via their
cell phones.  This trend is called sexting. According to Michelle Collins of
the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, of the 2,100 children
the center has identified as victims of online porn, she says, one-fourth
initially sent the images themselves.


There is a common theme: good parenting and education.  And that is the
message we should be putting out there, not blocking content that a
particular group of adults believes is unacceptable to them.  This type of
censorship is inappropriate for ICANN to become involved in.



Joan Irvine








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