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FTC and DOJ Forum: Child ID Theft By Family Members Most Damaging

in Cybersecurity/Privacy by

WASHINGTON, July 13, 2011 – Child ID Theft more commonly occurs via organized crime, but the most severe damage happens when done by family members, experts concluded at a joint Child ID Theft forum Tuesday.

Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice held the forum one day after hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ attacked U.S. government security contractor, Booz Allen Hamilton, resulting in the theft of 90,000 military email addresses.

Five panels, which included government officials, data security industry professionals and child safety advocates discussed the realities of the problem and solutions for combating the Child ID Theft. Child ID Theft – in cases of poverty, substance abuse and child neglect by family members – occurs through using a child’s Social Security Number under an assumed identity in order to utilize the child’s credit.

The damage inflicted by family members is more severe than that committed by organized crime syndicates because of the emotional damage inflicted upon the child, said the panelists.

“Child ID Theft is real, but don’t panic – it is a problem that we’re starting to get visibility to,” said panelist Tom Oscherwitz, Chief Compliance and Privacy Officer at IDAnalytics, a credit identity and risk management company.

While legislative and law enforcement efforts can only react to the problem after it has happened, panelists and conference members stressed the importance of action taken in the realm of education and parental awareness. Panelists agreed that parents must take the protection of their children’s identities seriously, and they should teach their children about ID theft in the same way they are taught to not accept car rides from strangers.

“This is just part of Parenting 101 in the current day,” said Alan Simpson, Vice President of Policy for Common Sense Media, a family media education nonprofit corporation.

Child ID Theft is one part of the continued barrage of data security attacks on industry and government networks. Such events have brought significant media attention to weaknesses in network security, but attention a vigilant corporate culture must also be the norm for companies and government agencies nowadays.

“A successful, security-conscious culture is based on its adoption by each employee who believes that it is his/her right and duty to ensure the security envelope of the firm is protected and that no one is exempt from mature participation,” said panelist Richard Boyle, President and CEO of ECMC Group, nonprofit corporation specializing in higher education finance.

Center for American Progress Panelists Explore FTC’s Role in Child Privacy Protection

in Cybersecurity/Privacy by

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2011 – A Center for American Progress panel assembled Monday explored the challenges presented by emerging Internet technology privacy issues with respect to Federal Trade Commission enforcement, child safety and free speech rights.

Julie Brill, FTC Commissioner, addressed private sector and government solutions for protecting consumer data privacy in her keynote speech to a packed house of policy analysts, advocacy groups and government officials at the Center’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.

“It is not reasonable to expect consumers to read and understand privacy codes as long as the Code of Hammurabi,” said Brill, in reference to the ancient Babylonian law code – the origin of the saying, ‘eye for an eye’.

Brill emphasized, in addition to companies putting privacy policies in plain English, that companies should be upfront with consumers regarding the kinds of personal data they collect and how long they keep it. Companies should also build privacy and security into new products – not just retrofit old products – according to the commissioner.

The morning’s discussion, however, centered around the thoughts of the commissioner and the panel who followed after her on how to best protect the privacy rights of children through several methods: an updated version of the ‘Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998’ (COPPA), a federal online privacy law enforced by the FTC. The panel also delved into private sector development of technology that would allow consumers to opt-out of company data collection and location tracking, also known as a ‘do not track mechanism.’

The proposed mechanism would take two possible forms: consumer subscription lists that would allow a user’s browser to block sites engaged in tracking, and browsers that would require websites to refrain from tracking its users behavior at the request of the user.

Due to the recent major data breaches at Sony, Epsilon, Lockheed Martin, and the U.S. Senate by hacktivist groups Lulz Security (LulzSec) and Anonymous, companies and legislators are now confronted with the high stakes of data privacy at play.

Jim Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, whose company is a child and family media advocacy group, exhorted the group to consider an angle outside of the current privacy debate in Washington when discussing data privacy policy reform.

Steyer, in addition to stating that there should be no tracking of children whatsoever, proposed the creation of an eraser button. The eraser button would allow children and their parents to delete content posted about them online. The mechanism would, however, only be one defense against the negative ramifications lack of privacy inflicts on childhood development.

“We need to look at how these issues affect the cognitive, social and emotional development of children and teens,” said Steyer.

“Very few people disagree with empowering parents [about their children’s privacy],” said Chris Wolf, Co-Director of Future of Privacy Forum, in response to Steyer. Wolf, a lawyer, refocused the discussion on the stakes everyone has in data privacy.

“Companies are beginning to recognize that privacy is good for business.”

FCC Unveils Privacy and Security Tips

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/Uncategorized/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, October 8, 2010 – FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski Friday morning spoke at a privacy and security event where he unveiled new web pages from his agency offering privacy and security tips.

The event, hosted by the non-profit group Common Sense Media and held at the National Press Club, discussed issues such as securing wireless networks as well as protecting children online. The new online privacy and security webpages can be accessed at:

During October, the FCC plans to offer a video on wi-fi security narrated by Yul Kwon, winner of the television show Survivor, as well as consumer guides sheets, screencasts and blog postings addressing several topics, including small business cyber security, using the internet internationally and tips for infected computers and networks.

Education Remains Crucial Tool of Consumer Protection, Say Panelists at FCC

in FCC Workshops/National Broadband Plan by

WASHINGTON, September 9, 2009 – The second panel at the Federal Communications Commission’s “consumer context” panel on September 9 focused on the tools and techniques that will enable consumers to utilize new broadband-friendly applications.

The continuing growth of possible uses of the Internet brings “good stuff” to consumers; but doing so safely was a cause for discussion.

“For the past nine months, we have noticed that over 65 million people are checking their Facebook’s using their mobile devices,” Timothy Sparapani, director of the public policy for Facebook.

Do children and adolescents who post online do so with an awareness of the privacy consequences associated with doing so, panelists asked. Sparapani said that Facebook was in the process of refining its privacy disclosures for that reason.

“Children need to gain media literacy. They need the ‘rules of the road’ for the internet,” said Sparapani.

To make this possibility a reality, Alan Simpson, director of policy for Common Sense Media, said, “This calls for the funding and implementing of digital literacy.”

With the digital literacy, the lessons would include policies for security and privacy as well as policies of “authorship and authority of information found on the internet,” said Simpson. He also said that the number of students cheating on papers have increased, according to Simpson.

Educating children on broadband usage is important; however, the education has to come from a teacher or a parent.

“Technologically speaking, students are outsmarting the teachers,” said Michael McKeehan executive director of the internet and technology policy for Verizon Communications.

Finding professional educators to teach security and privacy policies a difficulty in itself; however another concern is the location of digital learning.

“Some school districts won’t take time to teach digital literacy or it would be a trade off: either give up biology or physical education in order to have a program [dedicated to the education of digital literacy],” said McKeehan.

“The most important thing is education, education, education,” said Adam Thierer, senior fellow of the Progress and Freedom Foundation.

About was launched in January 2008, and uses “crowdsourcing” to collect the Broadband SPARC: Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition. The news on is produced by Broadband Census News LLC, a subsidiary of Broadband Census LLC that was created in July 2009.

A recent split of operations helps to clarify the mission of Broadband Census Data LLC offers commercial broadband verification services to cities, states, carriers and broadband users. Created in July 2009, Broadband Census Data LLC produced a joint application in the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program. In August 2009, released a beta map of Columbia, South Carolina, in partnership with Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation.

Broadband Census News LLC offers daily and weekly reporting, as well as the Broadband Breakfast Club. The Broadband Breakfast Club has been inviting top experts and policy-makers to share breakfast and perspectives on broadband technology and internet policy since October 2008. Both Broadband Census News LLC and Broadband Census Data LLC are subsidiaries of Broadband Census LLC, and are organized in the Commonwealth of Virginia. About

Parents and Educators Should Focus on Internet Safety Education, Say Online Experts

in Broadband's Impact by

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2009 – Parents and educators need to educate children about online safety issues, rather than censoring content, a panel of think tanks, industry officials, and online safety experts agreed on Monday.

The experts spoke during a panel discussion sponsored by the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a market-oriented think tank that studies the digital revolution and its implications for public policy.

Jim Halpert, a partner at the law firm DLA Piper, cited awareness of how the Internet is used as one of the factors influencing the debate on online safety, privacy, and free speech.

Recently, the focus has shifted from censoring content to promoting education on these issues.

The rise of MySpace was one factor that has raised concern over online safety and privacy issues, according to Executive Director Parry Aftab.

When parents are first presented with these issues, she said, they generally respond that it does not impact “my kid” – but then they see their children on MySpace and realize that these issues do apply to them.

Todd Haiken, senior manager of policy at Common Sense Media, agreed with Halpert and Aftab that the main focus now should be on education and empowerment, rather than censorship.

People are starting to realize that this is a “public health” issue, rather than a crime prevention issue,” he said.

Haiken added that if public schools receiving e-Rate funding were required to ensure that students are not able to communicate with predators online, as the proposed Deleting Online Predators Act would have mandated, then students wouldn’t have been able to use the Internet at all.

When this fact became widely known, said Haiken, most observers realized that it would be better to require the schools to provide internet safety education.

Such education is also important because parental controls don’t always work.  After a certain age, teenagers will learn how to get around parental controls, and if content is not available on school computers, they will go somewhere else, he said.

Although age verification requirements have been proposed as a way to protect children’s online safety, Halpert said it is not very effective.

It is usually “expensive and burdensome” for websites to obtain age verification, as well as “narrow and difficult to use,” he said.

A “great shift in expectations” is an important part of this education, according to Berin Szoka, senior fellow and director of the Center for Internet Freedom at the Progress and Freedom Foundation.

“Kids are being used as a device to accomplish other policy goals,” he said.

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