• Safety On and Off the Field

    15m 50s

    Julie Inman Grant is the eSafety Commissioner. She commenced this five year appointment in January 2017. Julie has extensive experience in the non-profit and government sectors, and spent two decades working in senior public policy and safety roles in the tech industry at Microsoft, Twitter, and most recently Adobe.

Graphical summary and transcript



Hello. Thank you. It's a little bit daunting to start here with the TED style talk. I'm gonna have to do a little bit of thinking on my feet extemporaneously. I want to thank Uncle Ray. He's clearly someone I'm gonna use a lot of soccer analogies because that's what I grew up playing. But he always knows to go to where the ball is. He's, um, he's a brilliant striker. He just issued the acknowledgement and welcome to Country at our annual conference two weeks ago. It's great to see him here again. And I would also like to pay my respects to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation and the traditional owners of this land. I'd also like to say what an honor it is to meet to Katrina in the flesh. I moved here 19 years ago, two weeks before the Sydney Olympics and the Paralympics. So I felt a little bit like I was basking in your glory.

And I don't want to start kind of off piste, but I learned very quickly that I needed to learn a lot of Australian sporting cultural conventions early because I was lucky enough having played soccer from the very early days. I started playing when I was five and I played up through to university level. So I actually scored a ticket to the soccer final where the American women played and won.

And I had lots of really got the sense of how important it was to Australian culture and to when people just casually asked me, you know, why I was here and what I was doing. And I said, Hey, I'm rooting for the American soccer team. I got a really strange look. They said, you mean barracking for. And from that time on, I learned the again, the proper sporting and cultural analogies. I'm so happy to be here. As I mentioned, I started playing soccer in the 1970s. And at that time, in fact, it was 1972.

The US Congress passed something called Title 9, which basically tried to include more diversity in women in sport. At that time, only 4 percent of women were playing at university level sports. So they passed a law that said if you don't treat women's sports equally and resource them commensurately as male sports, you as a university can lose all of your federal funding. Despite that fairly draconian measure, it took literally decades and there's still more room to go in the United States to achieve parity in terms of women and university sports. But we went from 4 percent of women playing sport in 1972 to almost 40 percent now.

So again, playing university sport at Boston University, we had to kind of play on the side field. We didn't get the main field, we didn't get the shiny bus. There were probably about 70 of us that would come out every year from across the US. While the men's team had elite players from the UK, from Nigeria, from Belgium and and everywhere else.

But you really didn't get a sense of hope that that there was support behind women's sports. But I guess the bad news now that we're seen as women are continuing to get more traction on the field. And, you know, again, I reveled in the fact that the American women took the World Cup this year. And as you probably all know, they're fighting for equality in pay. And we wish them well in that fight. We still have a long way to go off the field and particularly where technology is concerned. So let me talk a little bit about what we do as the eSafety office, because not only is sport a great leveler, but the Internet is also a great leveler. And that's one of the reasons I've been so excited to be part of the technology industry.

But we have to realize that even though platforms like Twitter, where I work for two years, do serve to democratize and promote voices, if we're not protecting those same voices, we're effectively silencing them. So we need to do more because technology has such a great opportunity to expand the fan base and to do so much for sport, to elevate sport. But we need to make sure that we're managing bad behavior not only in the stands, but also online as well. So I'll talk to you a little bit about how we do that. So we were established four years ago as the only regulator in the entire world that solely looks after the online safety of its citizens. Slide - we started small. It's the Children's eSafety Commissioner with two schemes.

One, an online content scheme which deals with child sexual abuse and pro terrorist content and other forms of illegal content, that's actually been in place for about 20 years. But we established what we call a serious cyber bullying regime targeted at young people. So any any serious cyber bullying that's directed at a child and is seriously humiliating, threatening, harassing or intimidating and a young person reports that to a social media site. And it's not taken down. We can step in and serve as a safety net and advocate on behalf of that that child to get that harmful content down. Of course, it makes sense that the longer that bullying content is up there directed at the child, the more mental anguish and emotional distress that child feels. So the quicker we get it down, the better. The good news is we we have good relationships with the social media sites and we'll I can find them up to twenty six thousand dollars a day if they don't take this this content down.

The truth is they don't want it on their platforms either. So we have 100 percent compliance rate. We also have a take down service that we've started in October of 2017. We've also received about fifteen hundred reports and have helped get intimate images and new videos taken down from more than one hundred and fifty different platforms based overseas. So a 90 percent success rate and good in terms of getting nude photos and videos taken down. We call this image based abuse. We do not use the term revenge porn. Revenge for what? For? For a relationship going south. Porn is was that created for the parent interests? No, it wasn't. We call it image based abuse because that more accurately represents the broad range of cases that we're seeing, including sex torsion attempts. We've got lots of 12 and 13 year olds that think they're talking to a Bollywood star or Justin Bieber. And the minute they asked for a sexy Skype or an intimate image is the minute that they're extorted for for money.

You can imagine it's terribly distressing for an adult when you're a young person and don't know where to turn to. It's it's an incredibly confronting situation. But we are here to help. And as you see, here are a cyber report team has done more than forty seven thousand investigations into child sexual abuse material. We've been given new powers recently to deal with abhorrent, violent material. We have a what we call a note of AVM notification scheme. We've just issued for this week in response to the Hall synagogue shootings to get any sort of terrorist torture or murder, child rape, you name it, where they are to try and help take it down, which probably explains why I'm not invited to many sporting events or barbecues because I have such uplifting conversation to to convey.

But so that's that's what we do from the regulatory side. But we're also all about education, empowering parents, empowering sporting leaders, empowering children themselves to understand what the benefits of technology are, but also what the risks are and to give you all tangible strategies to be able to mitigate those risks. There's a lot of fear. There's a lot of scaremongering out there. We know that that leads to a mental hijack and we're not seeking a fight or fight response. We want to empower, educate and inform. And if you go to eSafety.gov.au you will see a lot of that prevention and education material out there. We are going to have a new site live next week. And we've got great tools even for sporting organizations, a sporting club audit tool.

So if you go to eSafety.gov.au, you search out sport. You can probably find any of the information that you need. But let's talk to what we're seeing both on the field and off the field, where online vilification targeted hate and harassment and abuse. We're seen on a very regular basis. I'm sure all of these issues are top of mind for a number of a number of you. And it really is amazing in this day and age that we're seeing so much misogyny, racism and online hatred being surfaced by social media. And I think that's a really important thing to remember, that it is we need to target the behaviors themselves and the values. This is a cultural issue that we need to tackle. The role that social media is playing is in surfacing the realities of the human condition or that underbelly that we need to address, you know, societally.

And I guess I'd say that the good thing that these professional sporting heroes have at their disposal are a number of the professional organizations, whether it's the AFL or the NRL, have professionals that are dealing with social media that will come in and try and back them up and drown out the negative messages. Some of them are even conducting investigations and kicking people out of the club if they can identify the root of the targeted online harassment. But we also see this on a regular basis. And I've just done a major study to look at the intersectional factors around online harassment and online vulnerability.

So obviously, again, you know, if the person is a child, if they're a woman and they suffer from a disability, they're going to be three times more likely to be experiencing targeted online harassment than a white male professional athlete. So there are very clear areas of vulnerability where people are targeted that we need to be aware of so that we can we can target the harassment. We can triage effectively and we can develop interventions that work for everyone and that are specialized. But where I want to turn to now is is to the weekend warriors, to the sport that happens every weekend that we that we all partake in and participate in. And I know from going from being a keen soccer player to be coming a keen soccer mom on the field, you know, my my kids just don't have the same reverence for the world of sport that I did on the pitches of Seattle. And it's it's really hard sometimes to contain yourself.

You want to say, no, no, no, go to the ball. No, no, no, no.

It's really hard to sometimes filter yourself and filter your thoughts because you think of it, think of us. If it's difficult for us adults when we feel passion in the sporting moment, how hard it is for kids to contain that. And so we all have to remember, whether we're a parent on the sidelines, whether a coach, we have to model that good behavior. We need to show kids what that behavior looks like. And we need to recognize the difference between barracking. Now that I know what barracking means, you know, heckling and abusing and just delivering, you know, just being in the sporting moment, enjoying it.

I mean, we see this in the stands with the booing. It's reprehensible. It's wrong. This is what effectively we're seeing being extrapolated into the online world. It's a pile on. And we need to be able to not only protect our professional sporting heroes, but those in the community, those young people that are playing sport and should be enjoying sport, but are sometimes experiencing either social exclusion or criticism for losing a game themselves. So we need to teach teach that. So we'll go to the last one. There are four things that you need to know and we should all be seeking to do establish online boundaries. Yes, we all need to again establish how are we going to be using social media or technology in sport, setting those parameters? What's appropriate for a coach to be sharing with a student to a player rather than a parent? How are we going to use this to increase positivity rather than negativity? And what are the repercussions if we are using technology as part of sport? You know, we want to present the best possible picture of our sporting team. And your online profile does have something to do with that.

Highlight reporting processes, not just encouraging people to talk to a coach or a parent when they see bad online behavior on the field or off the field or online. But to teach them how to report to the social media sites directly or to the eSafety office if that harmful content hasn't been taken down. Set positive social media agenda. Yeah, well, again, it's all about modeling good behavior and encouraging positivity and then a clear policy on the use of photos and videos. Yes. Again, modeling consent as as well as respect and civility is really important. So what are the photos and videos being used for?

Maybe there's a valuable coaching reason that you're taking that. Where are the cameras, where the videos are there are their parents or kids on the team that don't want their photos being shared publicly. We need to respect that. And this is what we have to remember. It all comes down to respect, responsibility, helping build resilience and critical reasoning skills, what we call the four hours of the digital age. We've got to live these values on the field and off. And please don't hesitate to come to the eSafety office should you need any help. We are the only nation in the world that provides this service and we want to elevate sport in the online world. We also want to use the positive role models and voices in sport to share these messages about behaving well online and so Safer internet Day is February 11th. We'd love to get more of your sporting organisations behind us and sharing these messages. Now, every every day should be safer Internet day, but February 11th is the one in 2020. Thank you very much.