To mark the first General Assembly of the Children Online Protection Lab in 2024, the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs has announced the launch of a call for expressions of interest not only to assess the resources available to support the Lab, but also to identify ideas to experiment and the resources needed to implement them. The Children Online Protection Lab is also supported by the United Kingdom and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US.
The French President inaugurated the Children Online Protection Lab in November 2022 following the launch of the Call to stand up for children’s rights in the digital environment and the Declaration on the rights of the child in the digital environment adopted in March 2022. This international initiative aims to bring together governments, tech companies, academic experts and civil society actors to share expertise and best practices and test innovative solutions to protect children online more effectively.
After an initial year of expanding the support base, devising governance and launching the first trials, the initiative is going into its second year and a new operational phase. The call for expressions of interest, which is open until 3 March 2024, aims to collectively develop the next steps for the Lab with its stakeholders.
It is made up of:
- a call for contributions that will be used to assess and synchronize the resources – financial and otherwise – offered by the Lab’s supporters; and
- a call for ideas, to identify potential areas of experimentation and the resources needed to implement them.
Two new supporters of this French initiative have been announced: the UK and the NCMEC. These new backers have extensive experience in the protection of children online. The UK has focused in particular on age verification, fighting child sexual abuse and regulating access to pornographic content, while the NCMEC, a para-public organization created in the US in 1984, offers a system to alert national and international authorities to cases of sexual exploitation of minors. The NCMEC has recorded over 180 million reports of exploitation since its creation.
- a seat for each government represented (France, Estonia, New Zealand, Spain, the UK and the US, as well as the Korea Communications Standards Commission [KCSC]);
- a seat for a representative of the Secretariat (Safe Online);
- three seats for private-sector businesses (Tech Coalition, Dailymotion and Samsung);
- three seats for civil society organizations (E-Enfance, Thorn and WeProtect Global Alliance); and
- a seat for representatives of academic institutions (e.g. Susan E. Hendrickson from the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University).
Updated: February 2024