ONLINE SAFETY BILL ATTRACTS CRITICISM
The U.K. government’s draft Online Safety Bill has attracted criticism from campaigner groups in the days following its publication.
The Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety has raised concerns over a lack of provisions on age verification for online pornographic material, while Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis has criticised the Bill for its failure to include protections against online scams.
“I was completely astonished when I saw the bill,” Secretary of the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, John Carr, told the BBC. “All of the big commercial pornography sites…are outside the scope of the bill or could easily put themselves outside of the scope of the bill.”.
Personal finance expert Martin Lewis expressed surprise that the Bill does not seek to tackle internet scams. Lewis has been identified by the National Cyber Crime Security Centre as one of the celebrities most used in scam adverts online.
“By not doing so the Government has failed to protect millions, in the midst of a pandemic, from one of the most damaging online harms to their financial and mental health.” Lewis said.
CONCERNS OVER FACEBOOK END-TO-END ENCRYPTION
European Commissioner Ylva Johannson has joined a raft of officials and political leaders in the U.S. and Europe expressing alarm at plans by Facebook to introduce end-to-end encryption to its Messenger services.
In an interview with Politico, Johannson said that Facebook must introduce photo-detection technology that can identify the signs of child pornography being shared between users of the platform. “Otherwise, we’re going to give haven to the pedophiles,” she said.
The proposals have also attracted the attention of MI5 Director Ken McCallum, who highlighted the threat encryption posed to being able to track down online criminality.
‘If you have end-to-end default encryption with absolutely no means of unwrapping that encryption, you are in effect giving those rare people – terrorists or people who are organising child sexual abuse online, some of the worst people in our society – a free pass where they know that nobody can see into what they are doing in those private living rooms,” McCallum said in an interview with Times Radio.
OFSTED SURVEY REVEALS PARENTS’ VIEWS ON REMOTE LEARNING
The government schools’ inspectorate Ofsted has released the results of its 2021 Parents Annual Survey, its sixth annual report into perceptions of the organisation and of schools by parents.
87% of parents think that their child’s school has handled the coronavirus pandemic well, according to the report. 69% of parents said they had received guidance and training from their child’s school on how to handle remote learning.
“Ofsted’s survey findings are a glowing testimony to the incredible hard work and commitment of our schools and colleges during what has been the most difficult year for education in living memory,” Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, commented in response to the report.
“The pandemic has been hard for everyone in every walk of life, but school and college leaders and their staff have led by example, rising to challenge after challenge to ensure our young people get the education they need, whatever the circumstances.”
The report also found that parents were concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their child’s learning (67%) and their mental health (65%) with parents of children with SEND being particularly concerned about mental health issues. Children’s physical health was a concern to 45% of parents.
1,018 parents participated in the survey, of which 916 had a school-age child. The results were weighted to reflect the proportion of different parent demographics in England, including family type, social group and region.
Glasgow Caledonian University was the victim of a targeted cyberattack which began on Friday, 14th May and continued through the weekend, disrupting a number of IT services. This is just one of a growing number of cyberattacks affecting companies, schools and government departments around the world.
The university worked closely with security experts to tackle the cyberattack, including members of the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit and the National Cyber Security Centre. “There is no evidence data has been compromised,” Susan Mitchell, chief operating officer at the university, told the Daily Record.
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