CA Launches COP Portal to protect Children Online

The COP portal is aimed at creating a safer internet for children

By Collins Orono

The Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) on Tuesday launched an interactive platform known as Child Online Protection portal aimed at creating a safer internet for children.

The regulator partnered with telecommunications service providers among the Safaricom, Airtel, Telkom Kenya, Jamii Telecommunication Ltd and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA).

“The platform will empower not just children but also guardians to deal with the vulnerabilities and the risks that children face online. With the growing of technology and new services, children and young people are facing increased safety risks when they go online” Said CA Ag Director Mercy Wanjau

The platform will also be used by the public to report cases of child online abuse, which will be directly channeled to CA for necessary action as well as access exciting online safety tips to parents as well as access gaming components to enable children and young adults to measure their awareness of online risks.

At the same time, the public can also access information about other organizations that offer support for children, including Childline Kenya, Kenya Association of Professional Counsellors, The Cradle and the Children’s department.

“The Digital COP has come to ensure that as Kenya continues to move towards digital transformation we move with trust and confidence that the experiences online will be safe”. added Mrs Wanjau

This comes at a time when Cyber space is increasingly becoming more complex, increasing the need for regulators and other stakeholders to come together to safeguard children who are the most vulnerable group online.

CA also revealed that between September and December 2020, CA’s Computer incidence response team detected 56 Million Cyber threats, majority of those were malware attacks at 46 Million followed by web application attacks at 7.8 Million and 2.2 Million distributed denial of service threats.

Children today are tech survey and they have access to mobile devices which continues to exposes them to risks such as Cyber Bullying and online sexual harassment. They also get exposed to sexually explicit materials and online snooping.

ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru expressed fears on possible increase in the volume of cyber-crime in the country in the lead up to the upcoming BBI referendum and the 2022 general elections.

He urged the CA to boost its detection and monitoring capacity to mitigate the risk.

Speaking at the official opening of national Safe Internet Day celebrations, CS Mucheru lauded CA for working with other stakeholders to create a safer online environment.

“Abuse and exploitation of children is unacceptable and should generally not be protected even by free speech principles. In the Internet world, further protections are also needed to shield children from predators, who may contact them through deceptive enticements in online forums,” the ICT Cabinet Secretary said.

He further called on CA to liaise with relevant state agencies and private sector players to manage escalating cases of cybercrime.

Throughout the Covid19 pandemic cybercriminal have unleashed all manner of attacks including criminal phishing, extortion and increased ransomware that has compromised ICT Systems.

The most robust initiative that CA has been implementing is the Child online initiative which was rolled out 5 years ago which has been key in ensuring children are protected from unsuitable online content.

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