Examination of Witnesses (Questions 400-419)|
29 APRIL 2008
Q400 Helen Southworth: Therefore,
there is no possibility of your making any audit of whether or
not you are providing child protection across all those areas;
it is just a cultural feel?
Mr Angus: Do not let me mis-speak.
It is not just a cultural feel; there are dedicated resources
as well, but I do not want to misrepresent it by suggesting that
it stops at this place.
Q401 Helen Southworth: But would
you be able to let us have details of the dedicated resources?
Mr Angus: Yes, but I do not think
it is possible to break it down by country. 
Q402 Helen Southworth: Provided we can
have the headline figures, that is fine. Within that would it
be possible for you to let us know the allocations to education
or child protection measures specifically focused on the UK?
Mr Angus: As Dr O'Connell said,
most of what we are doing is concerned with the European Commission
and Teach Today. We have devoted a lot of resources to the broad
education of teachers throughout Europe.
Q403 Helen Southworth: Presumably,
within that there is some kind of check to see in which nations
you are operating?
Mr Angus: Correct.
Q404 Helen Southworth: Presumably,
you have some methodology to identify that it does not all go
to one particular European nation but is spread across all your
customer base; otherwise, you will not be able to determine whether
or not it achieves anything. You must have some method of auditing?
Mr Angus: I still do not know
that it is auditable. We may be able to approximate based on user
Q405 Helen Southworth: You can give
us averages but not anything that is actually tackling the issue
within the UK?
Mr Angus: Not that I am aware
of. We are working with CEOP and obviously the Home Office and
Q406 Helen Southworth: Perhaps I
may ask Bebo the same questions. What is your budget for child
protection across your global operations? Are there any specific
measures applied to the UK?
Dr O'Connell: Perhaps I may unpick
that a little. When I was hired by Bebo, which is three years
old, it was clear that the whole ethos was to develop a safe site
and to do what needed to be done to make it as safe as possible.
My role in the company is to work at a number of levels, for example
with the engineering team so that when it develops new products
it thinks about the potential risks. We go through a full risk
analysis in terms of what the risks are or might be and how we
can mitigate them, how somebody might misuse it, how we can get
them to use it more positively. That takes a huge amount of time.
When you talk about budget, are you asking whether we allocate
x amount of money or whether it is time and allocation
in terms of the different kinds of activities involved in talking
to engineers and getting them to think about product development?
Q407 Helen Southworth: That is for
you to determine. I want to know how your company measures the
resources that it applies to this activity.
Dr O'Connell: It is so integral
to our company. We spend money on image filtering technologies,
on our abuse management team and our staff who are dedicated to
safety-related issues. Over a third of our staff are completely
focused on safety. I want to be as helpful as possible. If those
are the sorts of figures and one is trying to add them up
Q408 Helen Southworth: Whatever methodology
you use, what I would like to know is what percentage of your
activity is allocated to this?
Dr O'Connell: We can come back
to you with a breakdown of those figures. 
Q409 Helen Southworth: It would also
be very useful if you could let us know which of those things
are directly allocated to the UK in terms of education. If you
do masses of education that is great, but it is not really great
for us if it all goes to another nation. We want to know what
benefit your customer base in the UK receives from those things.
That would be really helpful. I take you back to the specific
question of child protection in the UK. How many reports does
MySpace send to CEOP, and are they all sent via the National Centre
for Missing and Exploited Children in the US? What is the allocation?
Mr Angus: Everything goes directly
to the national centre's cyber tip line as mandated by law. They
further disseminate those reports to the appropriate law enforcement
agencies internationally. 
Q410 Helen Southworth: So, they all go
via the US centre?
Mr Angus: When they come to us
we are required to report to them. We also enable users to report
directly to CEOP.
Q411 Helen Southworth: In terms of
the process of going via the centre in the US, what time elapses
between a report being made by a young person or parent of suspected
abuse and it reaching our law enforcement service for action?
Mr Angus: We do not get information
on that from the national centre.
Q412 Helen Southworth: You do not
ask for it?
Mr Angus: We do not get it; we
are not able to obtain it.
Q413 Helen Southworth: So, you have
no idea at all how long it could take a report of suspected serious
abuse to reach our law enforcement agency from a report to you?
Mr Angus: I am not certain about
a report from the cyber tip line to the national centre and CEOP.
I know that they have a very close relationship.
Q414 Helen Southworth: But we have
no idea whether it is hours, days or weeks?
Mr Angus: I do not. I am certain
that the national centre and CEOP would know.
Q415 Helen Southworth: I want to
ask about direct reporting to CEOP. How many clicks does it take
for a child to get to CEOP from your system?
Mr Angus: We have a safety page
which has the safety resources. There is a direct link to CEOP
on that page.
Q416 Helen Southworth: How many clicks
does it take? How many interrogations does a child have to make
of your system to be able to report abuse?
Mr Angus: They go straight away
to the safety page. Then there is the link to the resources and
that will take them straight away to CEOP.
Q417 Helen Southworth: How many interrogations
Mr Angus: It is not really an
interrogation. Our educational system-
Q418 Helen Southworth: For a child
it is; it has to go through a number of different menus.
Mr Angus: It goes to the safety
page which is how we teach them to report these matters. It then
clicks the other resources, if the child does not choose to report
directly to us. If you are on the safety page it is one click
to go to the resource and one to take you to CEOP.
Q419 Helen Southworth: So, there
are only two?
Mr Angus: Yes.
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