Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hype The Threat - Implement The Legislation

I intended to move this one down the page, but I think it sits well here.

Facebook battles attack by child protection chief

Gamble unfriends social networks

Facebook has defended itself against criticism from the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) that it has refused to join a reporting scheme.

Jim Gamble, the chief executive of CEOP, today took to the airwaves and newspaper pages to attack Facebook and MySpace for declining to publish his organisation's "CEOP Report" button.

The button, a small icon that links to this website, offers information on bullying, computer security, illegal content and allows CEOP to gather reports of inappropriate behaviour online.

Gamble's public admonishment of Facebook and MySpace follows the announcement yesterday that Bebo will publish the button. The site, which has a young audience, has agreed to insert it in every profile page.

"I do not want my criticism to be taken as a swipe at the online industry. The vast majority of players are doing a good job and doing their best to make the environment safe," Gamble said. more The Register

From the Register Forum.

So.. lets get this straight.

The UK police want to 'in the name of child protection' get a button onto every UK myface users page.

I just had a look at the CEOP page, apart from the 'my god they are using M.Mcann to jerk a tear' moment I could not find any info about the 'button'. I was hoping to find a way I could link it to my site of course.. I want to know what it is, just a graphic you host yourself and a link? or must you cross-site link to them (making it a webbug) or worse, a full-blown flash/java/whatever applet, allowing all kinds of mischief.......

Bluster & Hyperbole

I, too, heard Mr Gamble on the Radio this morning (BBC Radio4). He sounded quite bullying himself - but that tends to be his calling card. Implicit in his comments was a suggestion that if any site refuses to host a CEOP 'panic button' they are failing in their duty of care to the young and there must, therefore, be something 'wrong' with them. It's no surprise to hear such attitudes from an organisation like CEOP, which has grown so powerful on the back of the current paedohysteria - and an almost wholly uncritical media.

Mr Gamble, who's fondness for dropping 'keywords' into his interview responses ('predator', 'grooming', etc) is a past-master at hyping up the sensationalism - hardly surprising at a time when so many competing 'partner agencies' (another favourite Gambleism) are looking for funds from an ever-dwindling pot.

I was surprised to hear him tell the BBC interviewer that the CEOP panic button receives 10,000 hits a month. Really? 10,000? A month? Naturally, the BBC interviewer let that little gem slip past completely unremarked upon. If it's true - and as ever with CEOP we have no mechanism for establishing that - then surely it represents a headline story of unimaginable proportions?

Ironically, given the context, I have little doubt Facebook will eventually be bullied into having to accept CEOP's unwanted presence on their site: the Paedogeddon will brook no argument, no dissent, after all, and after Mr Gamble's tirade against them this morning on live radio (and no doubt by now across a more than accommodating media) I suspect they will have no option but to cave in to his demands or risk more name-calling in the future.

In the end, it's worth remembering CEOP is a public/private company (and also part of the UK police service). Yes, it's a company. Mr Gamble is it's CEO. It receives the bulk of it's funding from the UK government (i.e. taxpayers) and from private sources (step forward Microsoft, BT, O2, Virgin, VISA, etc, etc) which all runs into £millions every year. It makes a bit of cash on the side flogging off training seminars, publications and instructional packs to 'stakeholders' (yes, there's another Gambleism). As a commercial concern, CEOP cannot insist companies like Facebook carry it's marque - but Mr Gamble seems to think they should be forced to do so. Of course, he knows that by wielding the trusty 'won't someone please think of children?' banner (along with his usual bluster and well-rehearsed hyperbole) wherever he goes he can almost always get his own way.

Gotta love the Paedogeddon. It's GREAT for business! more The Register Forum

h/t maccanfiles