Russia: Permsky Krai authorities plan internet surveillance of children

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Under the guise of “implementing a system of measures to reduce family and child deprivation,” the regional government is launching a system that monitors and analyzes the behavior of adolescents on social networks.

In the Perm region, a new information system will analyze the behavior of adolescents on social networks and collect information about their mental health, problems in the family, and communication with their peers and the law. Information on the implementation of internet surveillance for minors was announced at a meeting of the regional government.

Maxim Reshetnikov, Governor of the Perm Territory, justifies the introduction of such a system by the fact that, although in the last 2 years there has been a decrease in juvenile delinquency by a quarter, violations of the law occur more often with the participation of children from well-off families than those from the “risk” group and the “socially dangerous situation” group. “The reasons here are, as they say, collective. Parents with a modern rhythm of life do not always have time to deal with children, while teachers have a big load, an orientation toward the educational process. And sometimes there are no skills present to recognize when children are in difficult situations. The current prevention system is mainly oriented towards working with children who are already in the zone of attention of social services. Obviously, we need new approaches and solutions. First and foremost, we need an interdepartmental and multi-level preventive system that will identify risks at the earliest stages, when the problems are only beginning to appear.”

Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Abdulina said that the system will be formed before the end of 2018. It will collect information from various sources and “provide a comprehensive solution.” “It will be … constantly monitoring social networks to identify participation in destructive groups. The diagnostic tools of psychologists have been significantly changed in terms of risk factors,” she said, adding that since the beginning of September, parents in Permsky Krai will begin to educate on the issue of education through specially created lessons.

The special system is intended to help identify at an early stage children who are predisposed to crimes or suicide and to help them. The auction for its creation should take place before October 1, 2018.

It is not known whether the consent of the children and their parents will be required for the collection of information.

A similar social surveillance project for children was organized in February last year by the Tyumen League of Internet Safety. After agreeing with the regional education authorities, the League started collecting data on the pages of schoolchildren in the social network VKontakte. It was formed on the base of teachers, and access to it was given to the activists of the BizInternet League (WithoutInternet League). This league’s head Denis Davydov also reported that they intend to introduce this initiative in other regions — certain agreements were already available at that time.

Let us recall that since the beginning of this year, the media has reported several cases of attacks on schools by students with the use of cold weapons, firearms or traumatic weapons. Authorities attribute this to a trend of the so-called “Columbine” community on social networks, but the social networks themselves have denied this. In the wake of media hype, certain politicians, in particular Irina Yarovaya and Elena Mizulina, have repeatedly voiced the idea of ​​further tightening legislation. Recently Yarovaya submitted a bill to the State Duma “aimed at protecting the lives of children from Columbine communities and promptly identifying criminals involving minors in life-threatening situations.”

Translated from RosKomSvoboda: https://roskomsvoboda.org/39324/