Brighthood conference 2020:
When investigating online crime, key intelligence is often found by tracing money transactions. Banks and financial institutions can therefore play an important part in combatting online child sexual abuse crime by monitoring transactions and by ensuring that they understand the crime.
We invited Niklas Rydberg, Specialist, Group Sustainable Finance at Nordea to speak at the Brighthood Conference 2020.
Nordea is the largest financial group in the Nordic countries. It has put sustainability and ethical values high up on its agenda, and Rydberg was therefore well placed to detail how the bank works towards a more sustainable future, and more specifically how it proactively works to meet UN’s Sustainable Goal 16.2 – safeguarding children.
Principles for Responsible Banking
In recent years banks have started to further prioritise sustainability, and to consider how to transition the global economy to address the societal impact of the industry. 200 banks from across the globe have signed up to the Principles for Responsible Banking; a unique framework for ensuring that banks’s strategies and practice align with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.
Nordea is a signatory to these Principles, and Rydberg spoke about how it guides the bank’s sustainability strategies. He said that the Principles are a voluntary initiative, which encourage banks to do impact assessments on how they affect the different SDGs, and to collaboratively to produce initiatives that promote and produce sustainability.
The Finance Coalition
Rydberg spoke about their collaborative work with the Swedish Finance Coalition – a coalition of banks and specialists that aids banks and financial institutions to gather and share intelligence about how to combat online child sexual abuse crime that might be facilitated by their networks and payments systems.
The Finance Coalition provide intelligence from law enforcement about how to detect money transactions that might be linked to online child sexual abuse crime. Armed with knowledge about which countries are likely to be involved and the range of amounts of money, banks can monitor their systems so that it triggers alerts when transactions typical to the crime occur. By handing the information to law enforcement, they can investigate further. Sometimes police will intercept a crime, and other times it will turn out that a worker was sending money home to their family. Whatever the outcome it is worth investigating.
“Brand protection is also incredibly important as this crime damages businesses reputations immensely. In addition to this, banking employees are very vulnerable to blackmail, and therefore it is important for banks to ensure that they do not have staff who engage in this criminal behaviour.”
Banks need to protect themselves too
Like any other industry, banks need to work proactively to safeguard their own IT infrastructures from child sexual abuse material. Nordea has implemented NetClean ProActive, and Rydberg said that the key drivers behind this was to prevent the crime from happening and to help safeguard children. But brand protection is also incredibly important as this crime damages businesses reputations immensely. In addition to this, banking employees are very vulnerable to blackmail, and therefore it is important for banks to ensure that they do not have staff who engage in this criminal behaviour. If they are found out to be working for a bank by other perpetrators they can easily be blackmailed for money and banking services.
During the discussion we asked Rydberg if he believes that the work that they do makes a difference. He said that by aligning Nordea towards societal goals and by monitoring their own systems they help the transitions towards a more sustainable future, and help prevent a terrible crime. Taking the SDGs seriously and finding concrete ways to do so, is incredibly important.