In total, Swedish Government Offices has installed over 8500 NetClean software licenses.
Swedish Government Offices (Regeringskansliet) is an administrative arm of the Swedish Government. It is their task to implement the policies of the current administration across diverse government departments. The largest of the departments that fall under their administrative remit is the Utrikesdepartment (Foreign Office), which in turn controls 108 embassies.
We had a secure network – what we aimed to achieve with NetClean was simply to keep this kind of material out.
In his role, Jens describes phishing and other financially motivated attempted data breaches as being the biggest challenge the department faces. These often involve sophisticated methods designed to obtain passwords and other sensitive data. When it comes to exposure to child sexual abuse material, the internal threat this represents can be the leverage a criminal organization or rogue state needs to blackmail an individual. This is obviously of great concern when considering the type of information the Foreign Office and its embassies hold. With this in mind, ensuring networks are as resilient to CSAM as they can be is vital. Jens first became aware of NetClean around 2009. He takes up the story -
“I was particularly receptive to NetClean and what the company represented due to my background as a pre-school teacher. This period of my career unfortunately included an incident of child abuse which came to my attention, an event that caused me to reflect on the problem from a very real perspective. With that experience behind me, my personal attitude to NetClean and something I conveyed to my managers at Swedish Government Offices was ‘we can’t say no to this product’ – fortunately, they agreed.”
After the software had been implemented across the organization, the most important issue Swedish Government Offices faced was how to react if the system detected an incident. Jens describes an internal process in which creating routines for this situation was defined. Who should be involved? What should they do? Jens continues -
We knew the software was going to do its job – what we had to do was ensure we reacted in the most effective and discreet way as an organization. I believe we achieved this and I’ve shared the routines we defined with many other government organizations.
The software works quietly in the background. We test regularly to ensure it’s updated but otherwise, it’s just a case of letting it do its job.
Although there is goodwill and PR value in letting the public and staff know there is a collaboration with NetClean, Swedish Government Offices decided to launch the software without announcing this widely. They are, however, pleased to confirm its use if asked and gladly share this information with other authorities and departments.
NetClean has a strong focus on the real-world impact of its solutions - an ideal that Jens shares. In terms of what he hoped the software would achieve, he replies -
“Our ambition was to keep our network free from child sexual abuse material. We’ve generally achieved this, but when the system has given a ‘pling’ we’ve been able to deal with it quickly and correctly. I also know for a fact that our actions have led to direct intervention that has saved some kids from this terrible situation. For me that makes it worth all the effort.”
In his role and through his association with NetClean, Jens has attended many seminars, lectured on his experience in the subject and established contacts with Unicef, Interpol and many other international agencies. As a result, he’s learned a lot about the processes of law enforcement agencies. However, even after all his years of experience, Jens is still shocked by the scale of the problem. He also thinks a lot about how the authorities ‘punish’ what is in fact a base problem with sexuality among depressingly high numbers of men.
Despite this, he remains optimistic and proud of Swedish Government Offices collaboration with NetClean. They have not detected an incident for over four years and while this is pleasing in many respects, he is also aware that the problem still exists, even if they have achieved their aim of creating a ’cleaner’ network. To maintain this, the continuing efficiency of the product and the fact it enables a fast response is key.
“The product works so well that even if a USB containing illegal files or images has been connected while offline, the material is still detected and an alarm triggered. You have to be quick to react when a case occurs, and in our last recorded incident, the software enabled us to do this. This led to the arrest and conviction of a person who had access to children through their work, which was extremely pleasing to me personally.”