Ethics and the safeguarding of children

Ethics and the safeguarding of children
10 May, 2021 NetClean

Ethics and the safeguarding of children

In the coming months we will present the findings in the NetClean Report COVID-19 Impact 2020. In part one of the report we look at the data generated by a survey undertaken by law enforcement officers, and in part two we look at the drivers that motivate businesses to protect their IT system and devices from child sexual abuse material.

The single most important reason for protecting the IT environment and IT equipment from child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is, according to the businesses interviewed for the NetClean Report – COVID-19 Impact 2020, informed by a desire to operate ethically. In this case to safeguard and protect children.

The businesses that we interviewed believe that it is important to act ethically in order to be good corporate citizens. Ethics is at the core of their company values and they maintain that it is increasingly becoming more important that businesses contribute to the societies in which they operate. They believe that businesses here have an opportunity and obligation to contribute to development and improvement.

Do as much as they possibly can

They agree that it is not their responsibility to fight crime, but when they have the opportunity to help drive positive change, and do something to improve a big societal problem, they want and choose to do so.

“ Although we are not a law enforcement agency, we still want to do as much as we possibly can. As a company we aim to take action and make the world better. If we as employers can protect children, then we should.”

Beyond CSR

These ethical drivers are of course in many ways inseparable, or part of, sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility strategies (CSR). For some of the businesses, the decision to act on CSAM aligns closely with sustainability. However, for other companies, the connection to their sustainability strategies is not as strong. For many of these companies, the decision to act on the issue of CSAM in the business IT environment goes beyond sustainability and CSR strategies. One company said that they don’t just want to clean CSAM out of their own IT environment, they also want to help law enforcement and society as much as they can.

“ We want to contribute to society. We do this for the sake of children and child victims. It is morally right, and care and concern should stretch beyond the boundaries of the company.”

Another company stated that it is enough of an incentive for them to act if they can safeguard one child from becoming a victim of child sexual abuse (CSA), or from being revictimised if images of the abuse are spread on the internet. Finally, another said:

“ I cannot find any arguments as to why we as an employer shouldn’t do this. It is a crime committed by an employee on a computer that we have provided. There are many hideous crimes that people commit that we can do nothing about, but this we can do something about. It is straightforward and easy to do.”

“For many of these companies, the decision to act on the issue of CSAM in the business IT environment goes beyond sustainability and CSR strategies”

Pathos of public sector

The interviewed public sector organisations also added that their entire pathos is to serve citizens and taxpayers, and as such they have a responsibility, not to tackle crime, but to protect children and citizens. As publicly financed organisations they are highly dependent on trust from the public, to use resources well and to work to prevent crime.

“ Our aim is not to protect our IT environment, but to contribute to protecting vulnerable children.”

Creating bigger impact

Several of the companies mentioned that if an increasing number of companies tackle this issue, then together they will cover a larger part of society, and can have a bigger impact on tackling CSA crime and protecting children. They say that it should be common practice or the norm to address the issue in both the corporate world, government agencies and in municipalities.

“ It is hard not to be a small part in mitigating this problem. It is as simple as that. Companies have a responsibility, and there are many things that companies can do to improve society in different ways.”