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.NL Registry SIDN Supports Campaign To Protect Children Against Identity Hacking

SIDN Company Behind NL logo[news release] Identity hacking is making unauthorised use of photos or other personal information – for creating fake Twitter accounts or fake Facebook profiles, for example. Unfortunately, the practice isn’t always about the satirisation of politicians or celebrities, but can involve the victimisation of innocent children. A foundation called My Child Online has now produced a powerful video a powerful video to highlight the problem of identity hacking. SIDN attaches great importance to on-line security and is therefore supporting the My Child Online initiative. By doing so, we aim to contribute to enhancing internet security for children.

Freek’s story

The video illustrates just what impact identity hacking can have. It tells the story of Freek, a thirteen-year-old Dutch boy. Last year, Freek and his mum decided to set up a Twitter account for him. Anyone can download a Twitter profile picture, and sadly bullies took Freek’s picture and started using it for cruel pranks. They set up fake accounts, they pasted his face into indecent images and created YouTube clips featuring Freek as the central character. In the end, they managed to find details of the boy’s true identity. Unfortunately, Freek isn’t the only victim.

“While this is the most extreme case we’ve dealt with, it isn’t unique,” said Remco Pijpers, CEO of My Child Online. “We’ve now supported four families, although the other cases haven’t involved such extensive abuse.”

Children’s Ombudsman

My Child Online has referred Freek’s case to the Children’s Ombudsman. The Ombudsman’s office expressed shock at the events and concern about the abuse of young people’s photos and other personal information on social networks. The Children’s Ombudsman decided to investigate how such abuse was possible and what could be done to protect other children in the future.

Preventive measures

Internet companies, such as Twitter and Facebook, should at least make the procedure for reporting abuse easier. Other suggested measures for preventing identity hacking are presented on My Child Online.

“You can never stop idiots doing stupid things,” observed Remco Pijpers, “but you can make sure that you respond appropriately when they do. Just as in the off-line world. Society wouldn’t accept people putting up offensive posters featuring images of an innocent child.”

Share the video

Support the efforts to highlight the problem of hacking children’s identities. Watch the video about Freek and share it with your friends and contacts filmpje.

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