In October 2017, CBIS attended the World Congress on Child Dignity in the Digital World in Rome, and the Declaration of Rome – an action plan for faith leaders, governments, and companies to better address child sexual exploitation online – which was subsequently endorsed by Pope Francis. CBIS is now part of a subroup of experts working to roll out the Declaration and will report to the Vatican on progress. Beginning in 2018 ,we will be organizing an advisory committee of investors that specialize in children’s human rights, to draft expectations for the technology sector to better protect children from the digital threats of exploitation, grooming, and trafficking online.
CBIS also sent a letter to Sprint’s board seeking policy changes where parents would opt-out of parental controls, and for the company to improve its Acceptable Use Policy to better protect children and block abusive content.
In May 2017, CBIS’ Tracey Rembert and Shaska Chirinos met with Chicago Police Department detectives to learn more about how internet technology is used to both assist and deter law enforcement in identifying child sex traffickers. We are also interviewing leading nonprofits like Thorn, The Technology Coalition, the ACLU and Unicef to understand how the many pieces of technology, privacy law, and online sex abuse connect. We will use this information to work with our focus companies to implement best practices for oversight and disclosure, and specific policies that better identify and prevent child sexual abuse online.
The internet and devices to access it have transformed pornography and child victimization into an on-demand market. The ability to tag, analyze, block and filter illegal content is crucial, in order to identify victims, assist child protection groups, and educate law enforcement on trends. Even more troubling are the rising numbers of children forced into commercial sex acts online, through popular apps and websites. Tech and telecom companies are at the center of the debate, with the ability to block images, educate kids and parents, and save victims from abuse.
CBIS is engaging with AT&T, Spring, T-Mobile, and Verizon to encourage the companies to develop solutions to combat child sex trafficking and exploitation online and foster effective content filtering strategies on devices. CBIS had previously sent letters to each company inquiring about their content filtering options available on mobile devices. We are currently building a coalition of Catholic investors to join us in engaging each of our telecom companies.