On a global child protection fund financed by international tech companies

Despite admirable in-house efforts of international tech corporations, the heavy burden of online well-being is tacitly placed on the shoulders of children and their parents at the moment. In addition, end-to-end encryption has almost become an absolute tech industry standard and alternative technical methods to identify child abuse incidents within an end-to-end encryption scheme met with privacy concerns such as Apple’s recent attempt on implementing ‘client-side scanning’ into their phones. As a result, the technical capabilities of such companies to handle online child safety issues will be diminished considerably, and the tech industry will rely on user reporting and metadata analysis more than ever. To complement the current and forthcoming technical measures taken by international tech companies, not to replace them, this article introduces the non-technical concept of a global child protection fund. This fund would be financed by a small, fixed tax rate on the yearly net corporate earnings of these companies to support capacity-building programs for online child sexual abuse worldwide, developing countries in particular. The global fund would be managed by UNICEF in close coordination with global and local stakeholders, and it would be proportionately distributed among the beneficiaries in line with the socio-economic level and the national user base of each tech company. After a brief introduction to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and CSR tax, the article will elaborate on its proposed model with some base assumptions to make it easier for the readers to comprehend the conceptual aspects. Then, it will discuss which substantial challenges it could face in real life and speculate to what extent the ethical and practical foundations of this model could be applied to alleviate the global inequalities in other areas.


Photo by Julia M Cameron