Nick Newman defence, security and public safety expert at PA Consulting is interviewed by Neil Fairbrother at The SafeToNet Foundation about PA’s recent report, “A Tangled Web, rethinking the approach to online Child Sexual Exploitation and Abuse”.
Nick explains PA’s involvement and focus on preventing online child sexual exploitation and abuse and draws on findings from the Tangled Web report.
Nick mentions the scale and pace at which online harms crime is evolving, and how fragmented the landscape is with the vast range of organisations all providing an important contribution to combat it.
He says: “Our report’s primary conclusion is that if this community had a single front door, a single point of entry to coordinate the collective efforts and responses and resources of all of this community, that would drive a much more efficient and cost-effective response.
“Our second conclusion was, we think that there are very distinct threats and challenges emerging now in the online space, and we need a very deliberately tailored response to each of those.”
Nick goes on to say: “If you can be much clearer about the response to disrupting the dark web, the response to regulating the surface web and the response to educating young people about how they interact with the web as they start to become more socially active, than we’re dealing with the whole spectrum of the problem, alongside our traditional responses to physical abuse.”
The interviewer talks about the Online Harms Safety Centre (OHSC), proposed in PA’s report.
Nick says: “We already have a number of organisations, and the Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre (CEOP) in the National Crime Agency is a key part of that, but what we don’t have is a single front door.
“Five years ago, when we were thinking about the response to cybersecurity, it was the industry that said to government, just give us a single front door, a single point through which we can communicate, offer our skills and our capability, but also a single voice from the government. And so, we would like to see something of that structure put in place at the head of our UK Serious and Organised Crime strategy: not replacing the organisations that are already there, but orchestrating them.”
Nick then goes on to say that the government’s Online Harms white paper has made a great step forward in better alignment across Government.
He continues: “It is the first time that we’ve seen Government speaking with one clear voice on these issues and the breadth of these issues. But if you look at this through the lens of Government perspective, each part of will have a particular concern or area of interest or focus.
“Some will be thinking about terrorism and extremist material online. Some will be thinking about child abuse imagery. Others will be thinking about self-harm and incentivising or helping people understand suicide. If you’re industry, looking at the other end of this problem, you own the platform or the devices that are hosting this material, it can be quite bewildering to see multiple Government voices coming at you.”