The Interpol World Conference

The Interpol World Conference
9 July, 2019 Anna Borgström

The Interpol World

Last week I attended the third edition of the Interpol World conference in Singapore. It’s an event that brings together private and public sectors to foster collaboration to counter future security and policing challenges. The aim of this work is a future where all law enforcement agencies across the world can communicate securely through INTERPOL and share and access vital police information to ensure the safety of the world’s citizens.

An inspired look to the future

I can’t tell you how inspiring it was to meet so many specialists and visionaries. One of the keynote speakers, Trendwatcher Richard van Hooijdonk, spoke about a future radically changed by technology. A future that is inspiring, but that also presents threats to our security. My own talk drew on this same theme, but I focused on the future stakeholders of the world – children.

I was invited to speak on the topic of ‘Online safety and the security of our children’, specifically looking a the importance of ethical leadership in preventing and disrupting crimes against children in the virtual world.

Although the safety of children was discussed as this conference, I was saddened by the fact that key speakers like the president of INTERPOL, Kim Jong Yang and Secretary General of INTERPOL, Jürgen Stock failed to mention them in their speeches.

If we are to live in a future where everything is connected, and this is a vision that will be realised by the mobile industry sooner than we think, we have to ensure that it is a safe space for everyone. We need future leaders that have a mindset that embraces the rewards and the risks of the connected world, especially in regards to children.

Sustainable Developments Goals

The Sustainable Development Goals that were presented in 2015 aim to build a better world for everyone. We cannot get away from the fact that technologies are changing the way we live, work and interact with each other, and therefore technology touches on all 17 goals.

A connected world will have a tremendous positive impact on people and the planet, just think about the effect it can have on education, healthcare, inclusion, equality and poverty. But we have to ensure that these technologies are not used for sinister purposes.

It’s important therefore that we do as much as we can to underpin this framework for a world where technology and children’s rights are combined. A framework that has been signed off by 193 member states. It’s a powerful tool, one that should be embraced by both private and public enterprise. 

Hardwiring the SDGs into company goals

The SDGs are core to any company that wants to do business in the future. Profit and loss will always be measured, but business now needs to measure the impact they can have have on people and communities. I believe that more and more companies have acknowledged that children’s rights are essential to this.

Why? Because customers are asking for this to be considered, but also because companies need be able to attract talented people. People with talent want to work for value driven companies that have transparent sustainability plans. They want to work for companies with a higher purpose than earning money.

We have to start to measure what companies are doing in relation to children’s rights (Goal 16.2 specifically). Remember, when we talk about children we talk about future customers, employees and contributors to society – and that is a very important stakeholder for any business, and something every industry leader should be heavily invested in. The financial case is clear, and so is the ethical.

A lot of work needs to be undertaken to ensure that children are not abused by technology, and this is a job that involves everyone. Therefore, making the decision to protect a business and its services from child sexual abuse material and to commit to working with authorities in order to safeguard children from sexual abuse should be an easy decision to make. Especially if you lead with ethical values, and realise that this work is a valuable hygiene factor that will contribute to a business thriving in the future.