News that Jim Gamble, head of the Children Exploitation and Online Protection Agency (CEOP), has resigned is a huge blow.
Previously, I worked at AOL on the Youth proposition for almost 3 years and came into contact with him on a number of occasions and was always very impressed with him.
As CEOP’s head, he was occasionally accused of being too combative, but since CEOP was launched in 2006, it’s undeniable that the agency (under Gamble’s leadership) has done a huge amount of very successful work highlighting the problem of cyberbullying and protecting kids online.
Cyberbullying is one of those crimes that are often viewed as being silly or unimportant if they haven’t happened to you or a close contact.
That Gamble managed to force the issues into the wider sphere so successfully is to be applauded and his stance that caused him to resign – not wanting CEOP to becoming dissolved into a National Crime Agency – is admirable.
It’s interesting to see that those who are most upset by Jim Gamble’s resignation and Theresa May’s plans are on the more political side – campaigners, politicians and the police – while the ones who are quietly smug are the ISPs, who are making money out of the internet – potentially at the expense of kids’ safety.
It’s an issue on which I sit squarely in the middle. Those who seek to try to control the internet are frankly deluded and, while trying to impose rules and conditions makes a lot of sense in theory, its free and liberating nature will always make it a breeding ground for both good and evil.
However, ISPs still do not do enough to help protect the innocent online. The internet is somewhere where innovation and technology can easily be used for good. Granted there’s far less money in offering broadband than there used to be, but it wouldn’t take too much work to try and introduce some industry-wide safety and security tools to help and protect kids online.
Not too much to ask for really, is it?