Monday, December 11, 2006

John Reid's kitemark is dangerous

According to reports, John Reid is planning on introducing a Government Kitemark for software that is designed to protect children online. Currently there are many different applications out there which can be used to monitor usage of computers. Key stroke loggers, port blocking software, pixel blocking software, web browser locking etc, and the one's that the Government deems are good will carry a Kitemark symbol to let parents know they are good.

The problem is that this is like a sticking plaster masking the issue. People will see this Kitemark and falsely assume that their children are now safe. You can just see it now, little Johnny has been groomed and abused by someone online, and his parents go on the news and say "we bought a Government Kitemark product and it didn't work".

Frankly this policy, besides being clearly driven by headlines (you can't beat a good "Government crack down on Net pervs!" story in the tabloids), will not actually protect children. In fact, it is dangerous because it will lull parents into a false sense of security. This kind of software is only as good as the person that administers it, and, as technology changes, many will become obsolete very quickly. Many parents though will not be aware of such things because they "have a Kitemark product, so everything is OK".


Buenaventura Durruti said...

I enjoy your blog but it's rare I agree with you so I thought it worth saying: Hear, Hear.
Buenaventura Durruti

Anonymous said...

Might be me being paranoid, but does the idea of a government Kitemark on a keystroke logger sound slightly worrying to anyone else?

Unity said...

Spot on Dizzy. This all all a bit of headline driven tosh from dear old Dr Demento.

The best defence against internet grooming is, and always will be, a vigilant parent.

dizzy said...

Agreed. Although I would add that another defence would be not to go online!

Jeff said...

The Government is years behind in seeing the dangers posed to children by the internet.
They never even considered internet security whilst rolling out the Natinal Grid for Learning, Instead relying on School, local council and broadband consortia to handle it.

I agree with you that this is a dangerous piece of publicity, parents will automaticaly assume that it comes with a government gaurantee.

parental responsibility should never be taken out of the child protection issue.