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Commissioner Karen Talbert
Nortel Networks

It has been my privilege to serve on the Commission on Online Child Protection and an honor to be a part of this important study. I would like to thank Chairman Don Telage and my fellow commissioners for their respect, knowledge, and thoughtful contributions, which have led to our agreement on final recommendations. Additionally, I would like to thank Amerivision Communications and Nortel Networks for supporting my participation on the Commission.

The problems and issues we have addressed concern me as a citizen, a parent and as an individual who cares about kids. Over the past few years, based upon my exposure and involvement in a wide range of Internet projects, I have had the opportunity to closely use, observe and formulate opinions regarding this resource. I have seen the problems it can create for families. I have researched possible solutions and contributed to the development of a server-based filtered product. My personal conclusions follow that of the Commission; there is no single solution, but we must continue to address the issues with a variety of solutions that exist today and make sound recommendations for the future.

We have established a solid base of information from which many solutions can be immediately implemented while setting the groundwork for the future and improvements to be built upon. We have clearly seen the safety issues and threatening situations that children can easily be exposed to on the Internet. We understand that a profoundly simple approach does not exist.

I believe the biggest risk we face, is that nothing is done as a result of our efforts. I will always remember the children who testified to their frightening experiences on the Internet. The consequences of doing nothing were clearly articulated by the testimony of experts who educated us on the dangers of harmful content and of not protecting our children; our greatest fears confirmed.

Unfortunately, statistics show that a high percentage of children are online and unsupervised while their parents are at work. I have met with many parents who are knowledge workers during the day, but who are out of touch with what their children are seeing online in their home.

With most of my 15 years experience working in a large corporation, I am an advocate of educational programs in the workplace. Within the working environments of our country are vast resources that can be deployed to deliver information on Internet safety to working parents and employees of all ages. Government should consider incentives for businesses to educate employees as a fast and effective way to enhance public awareness.

More and more companies are becoming aware of Internet safety, security and privacy issues as they apply to the workforce. It seems a natural extension to carry that awareness a step further and educate workers on basic Internet safety. Businesses can benefit from offering training, literature, demonstrations and online information to help parents become knowledgeable about the Internet. Parents benefit from knowing how to help their kids have a safe Internet experience. I hope to see organizations embrace a commitment of "best Internet practices" to educate their workforce and adopt safety policies that can be carried over into the home.

What do YOU want the Internet to be? The question is a service mark of Nortel Networks. It is also a provocative question that we have asked ourselves many times during the course of the Commission's work. What do you want the Internet to be - for our children? Is the answer - a powerful educational resource and fun toolÉor a place where kids don't feel safe, or where curious kids can lose their innocence?

It will take the efforts of everyone, from care givers of children to service providers of access and content, to have a positive impact on the problems. The dynamics of this powerful medium will continue to challenge us. Directly or indirectly, our children will continue to educate us about the good and the bad aspects of the Internet.

I challenge Congress to address the Commission's recommendations. It is my sincere hope that our recommendations will solicit specific and long-term actions that gain acceptance and momentum toward making the Internet a safer place. To keep children safe, we must persevere in finding and implementing solutions that meet and exceed the objectives of our original charter. Our overall success will be measured by the collective willingness of government, private and public sectors to accept responsibility for addressing the problems and to take immediate action.

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