EU Commission Vice-President Neelie Kroes, responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe, and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, have signed a joint Declaration to “work collectively and in partnership to reduce the risks and maximise the benefits of the Internet for children.” The declaration demonstrates a mutual recognition by the United States and the EU of the need to establish appropriate safeguards to strengthen cyber security, and will complement the EU “Strategy for a Better Internet for Children.”
The declaration sets out plans to create joint U.S./EU campaigns, with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security scheduled to participate in the EU Safer Internet Day 5 February 2013. The joint campaigns will seek to improve cybersecurity and focus on international cooperation between industry, public authorities, schools, and civil society to ensure a global audience.
According to the European Commission, 75% of children between the ages of 6 and 17 routinely use the Internet, and the declaration sets out three main objectives to protect children online:
- Increase awareness of risks and improve skills of children, and engage parents and teachers to help enable best use of the Internet by collaborating on cybersecurity awareness
- Work with industry, law enforcement and other stakeholders to ensure that Internet content and services can be trusted, and parents and children can make informed choices
- Cooperate in fighting online child sexual exploitation and abuse
The EU and U.S. have historically worked together to combat cybercrime and have established an EU-U.S. Working Group on Cybersecurity and Cybercrime, and it is this existing collaboration that has led to this “key milestone.”