I have the honour to be a member of the Advisory Council of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI). Its HQ is and always been in Washington DC, where it is led by online child safety veteran CEO Stephen Balkam, but there is also an office in London which handles Europe and the Middle East. It is headed up by the inestimable David Miles.
FOSI was established and is wholly funded by the internet industry. Most of the US internet industry’s big players are members and an increasing number of non-American companies are also part of it as well e.g. Telecom Italia, Telefonica, BT and T Mobile. This year’s Chairman of FOSI is Richard Allan, a senior executive of Facebook but a Brit based in London.
Every November these companies and many others gather at FOSI’s conference in DC along with a growing number of representatives from NGOs and Governments. It has become a staple must go event for the global online child safety community because, uniquely, it brings together an unequalled number of industry leaders to debate not just what’s happening today, but what is going to be happening tomorrow.
Several years ago FOSI embarked on a hugely ambitious project. It succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. FOSI set about to construct an online database – called the FOSI Global Resource and Information Directory, “Grid” for short – detailing the laws and policies in the field of online child protection that are being pursued in every country of the world. This is a mammoth task requiring not only a major effort at translation, but an even larger one in terms of keeping it up to date.
Originally Grid was only available to FOSI members but the Board recently decided to make it available to anyone. It’s a veritable cornucopia of stats and pointers to more stats as well as the substantive, translated texts.
Go get it.