GSMA launches kid protection initiative

4:00 AM PST 02/12/2008 by Pamela Rolfe, AP

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BARCELONA -- The GSMA, the global trade association for mobile operators, on Monday announced the launch of the Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Content, a group designed to filter out "disturbing images" from mobile phone users' experience.

GSMA chairman Craig Ehrlich said that the worldwide organization is throwing its weight behind the initiative, which seeks to block access to listed Web sites and promote advertising codes of conduct.

"As our industry rolls out mobile broadband networks that provide quick and easy access to multimedia Web sites, we must put safeguards in place to obstruct criminals looking to use mobile services as a means of accessing or hosting pictures and videos of children being sexually abused," Ehrlich told a packed auditorium on the opening day of the three-day Mobile World Congress, which runs through Thursday.

The GSMA, along with such worldwide operators as Orange FT, Telefonica/O2, T-Mobile, Mobilkom Austria, Vodafone and dotMobi, have joined forces to create a global network to implement "Notice and Take Down" processes to remove any child sexual abuse content posted on their own services.

Ehrlich said he expects the number of telecom operators opting to join the alliance to grow exponentially within the next month.

According to Interpol figures cited at the launch, the presence of child abuse content on the Internet grew 74% from 2005 to 2006, with about 200,000 images available.
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