We have just returned from the Online Safety conference held in Sydney on Nov 1 – 3. The conference was jointly hosted by the Australian eSafety Commission and NZ’s own Netsafe.
The event was well attended with over 400 delegates and a range of interesting speakers. We shared a table with Antigone Davis, Head of Global Safety for Facebook. She explained some of the tools that Facebook is using to help keep people safe online including their processes for taking down image based abuse after it has been posted online. Antigone went on to explain measures that Facebook is employing that allow people to pre-emptively block private images before they are posted onto Facebook. This is a significant step forward in stopping online image based abuse before it occurs.
The majority of delegates were from groups who provided training or support to young people helping them to be safe online or to assist those who had been victimised online.
There was only a small number of representatives from the online or telco industries suggesting a lack of awareness or sense of responsibility for the role we play helping to keep people safe in the online environment we’re creating.
Nearly all the presenters had an upbeat, positive story to tell about their work. The exception was a case study presented by the Child Exploitation Internet Unit of the New South Wales Police Force. This was a “warts & all” case study that took us through the detection, capture & conviction of five Australian child sex offenders We were able to read the text messages and chats exchanged by the abusers, listen to their recorded phone calls and watch their police interviews. In this case all five offenders were convicted and imprisoned. This was a truly chilling presentation that gave a small insight into the world of child sex offenders and reinforced the value of our work.