Good evening. I am delighted to be with you all tonight to add my voice to the chorus of congratulations for your amazing accomplishments. Thank goodness you haven’t asked me to sing!
Tonight is a celebration of 50 exceptional women. True leaders who are discovering, creating and building great technology and companies all across the UK. We recognise the hard-fought journey it takes to get here and you are all worthy of this special recognition.
Fake news has been named Word of the Year by Collins dictionary, showing just how pervasive the spreading of false information has become.
Fake news is not a new phenomenon. False narratives and propaganda have been used for centuries to influence public opinion. But what’s different now is the speed with which it can reach millions of people around the world.
Your Eminence Cardinal Parolin, excellencies, friends and child advocates. We gather here at the Pontifical Gregorian University, this great learning institution, under a burden of tremendous responsibility. We are here at the invitation of Father Hans Zollner, President of the world-leading Centre for Child Protection, to examine the state of children, their dignity and safety in the emerging digital world. A world which is only now coming into view.
Good afternoon. I would like to thank Dr. Vidano, Dean Knapp and the team here at George Washington University for convening this important gathering to discuss building a global partnership to combat extremism online in all its forms. It is indeed ironic that one of humanity’s most liberating innovations - the Internet - is being misused in this way - as a vessel for violence and hatred.
My Lords, as we come together in your Lordship’s House, millions of people around the world are celebrating International Women’s Day. People who have travelled very different paths and faced difficult challenges but who are united in the belief that no country can flourish - socially, economically or democratically - if it leaves half its people behind.
Today we celebrate Safer Internet Day. The theme this year is ‘Be the change: Unite for a better Internet’. And being here with all of you young leaders and inventors, I am convinced the brightest future lies ahead. Your generation will do great things that will improve the world for everyone.
Thank you Madam Secretary General, esteemed chairs and honourable delegates for the kind introduction and for inviting me to the Second Annual West London Model United Nations Conference. It is a great pleasure to open these proceedings today on ‘New Technologies, New Promise, New Problems’ and to explore ideas with you, the next generation of leaders, who have the greatest potential to change our world for the better.
Your excellences’, colleagues, friends, and child representatives, on behalf of the HM government of the United Kingdom and the WePROTECT Global Alliance to End Child Sexual Exploitation Online, I would like to thank the governments of Mexico, Indonesia, Sweden and Tanzania for hosting this event today and for their unwavering commitment to protecting vulnerable children from violence and harm.
Today at the United Nations children joined world leaders to launch a new partnership and fund to make ending violence a public priority and a collective responsibility. End Violence Against Children - The Global Partnership brings together governments, foundations, the UN, civil society, the academia, the private sector and young people in driving action toward achieving the new global target to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence and torture against children.
his speech followed the personal testimony of a young British woman who was groomed online by representatives of Daesh or the so-called Islamic state. She is using a pseudonym of Leema to protect her identity.
Thank you Leema for sharing your story with us. We admire your courage and maturity in coming forward. Hearing stories like Leema’s is important for us all. Too often, until our own lives are touched by such tragedies, the risks seem remote, as if they don’t concern us – we are numb to the human impact of this very modern evil.
Thank you Dean Livingstone for your kind and generous words. It’s awesome to be back here at GW! I would like to begin by expressing my deepest appreciation and admiration to the leadership of this great university, especially President Knapp, Dean Livingstone, Vice Dean Spencer, Associate Dean Choudhury, Associate Dean Jabbour and Ave Tucker from the Board of Trustees and for the honorary doctorate in public service bestowed upon me. My warmest welcome to the families and friends gathered here today to celebrate this momentous occasion. This is your day too and you must be incredibly proud.
I'm used to being under pressure to win. My formula is to always come prepared. But I wasn't this time.
“Are you going to run in that?”
I was single mom living in London, running international operations for a fast-growing US high-tech company. I had a board presentation on the West Coast and had managed to catch the last transatlantic flight back home to the UK. It was a big day for my five-year-old son. His school was holding its annual sports day and he was really looking forward to having me there.
Clearly our thoughts are with those who have been affected by the events in Brussels. I would like to echo the sentiments of the Prime Minister, who has spoken of his shock and concern. We will await information urgently during the course of the day.
Turning to the reason why we are all here today, I would like to extend special appreciation to the many colleagues who have travelled here to participate, from across the UK and overseas. I am pleased that we could come together for this important dialogue and that delegates come from such a broad range of backgrounds - law enforcement, academia, the voluntary sector, industry and government.
This post is adapted from a speech delivered at the DLD ‘Next Next’ Conference in Munich on 17th January 2016.
We are gathered here to talk about the future and we in the technology industry are hard-wired to believe that new ideas and technologies to change the world for the better. But today there are some dark clouds on the horizon — challenges and threats to our worldview and way of life that demand a strong response.
Thank you Your Highness. Your moving words reflect perfectly the goals of WeProtect and the importance of our global commitment to eradicate this crime and ensure the safety of children in the digital world.
On behalf of the United Kingdom and the WeProtect International Advisory Board, I would like to thank the United Arab Emirates for the warm welcome you have extended to all of us and of course for your inspired leadership and unwavering commitment to this agenda.
When my son was growing up, one of our favourite pastimes was to talk about Time Travel. What if you could observe Turner painting The Fighting Temeraire, listen to Socrates deliver his ‘Apology’ or watch George Best play at the 1966 European Cup quarter-finals?
In Parliament when we start a speech or enter a debate, we must declare any interests or allegiances before we begin speaking. I start by saying “My Lords, I must first declare my interest as the Prime Minister’s Digital Advisor…” Well today, I must declare my interest as Ben Shields’ Mom and to apologise to him in advance if anything I write here will embarrass, humiliate or otherwise cause him undue stress or anxiety. I am sure he has your sympathies.
Kevin Spacey recently said, “If you’re lucky enough to do well, it’s your responsibility to send the elevator back down”. After working in the tech sector for a quarter of a century, this quote summed up perfectly why in October 2012, I left my executive job leading Facebook’s international expansion and operations in Europe, Middle East, Russia & Africa to serve in government. I felt then, as I do now, an immense personal responsibility to inspire the next generation of young people to embrace digital technology and entrepreneurial culture, with all the incredible experiences it has to offer.
Ministers, ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank you all for accepting our invitation to participate in #WeProtect and for joining us in a global commitment to protect the safety of children in the digital world.
We’re here today to take global action on one of the most complex, the most alarming, and the most challenging issues that we face as a society. Everyone in this room agrees that stopping the rise of online child abuse and exploitation is an urgent priority.
A few weeks ago at the Mayor’s international business advisers committee meeting, I had one of those open- mouth-insert-foot moments. Sitting with a distinguished group of CEOs and chairmen of the world’s leading companies, discussing what London needs to do to become the most innovative and competitive city in the world, I blurted out, “I think it’s time we stopped teaching French in British schools and substitute science, coding or digital literacy instead.”
Bragging may not come naturally to the British, but as someone who has spent the past 25 years operating on both sides of the Atlantic, I have no hesitation in saying that the UK is now the best place in the world to build a global business.
This week I will be meeting with some of the fastest growing technology companies in the US and their advisors on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, whilst I am here in New York to launch HQ-UK – a new initiative, which demonstrates why we think the UK has the world’s most competitive package for the world’s fastest growing businesses. All of the businesses we are meeting are thinking about how to grow their operations internationally. It may surprise some just how strongly I’m going to maintain that there really is no option to compare to the UK. And I want to make it as easy as possible for companies to choose the UK. More on this later.
My heritage is labour. I grew up in Northern Pennsylvania in the heart of industrial America. My father worked in a precision metals factory when I was born. With five children under the age of seven, it was difficult to make ends meet and with the help of a loan from the US Small Business Administration, he started a business in the basement of our family home where he worked nights and weekends and began the journey of a family to a brighter future.
There are so many opportunities online today, is it any wonder that we see people retreating there? With so much social currency given to “likes” and “followers” and the pressure to appear relevant and popular is it any wonder that many young people risk falling into a very solitary, mainly online existence? I’ve heard it said that you are never as happy as you seem on Instagram, never as miserable as you seem on Twitter, and never as employable as you seem on LinkedIn. We laugh but it’s true.
The transformational moments in life have always been, and will always be, about people. Years from now when we look back on our lives, we won’t remember the YouTube videos we watched or all of those posts on Twitter or Facebook. But we will remember those people who helped and guided us.
Everyone agrees that stopping the rise of online child abuse and exploitation is an urgent priority. The big question is: are there more innovative ways to go about it? Coming at this problem after twenty-five years of building global tech companies, and now as an adviser to the UK Government and the Prime Minister, I believe that there is a better way. My view is shared by delegations from more than 50 countries, 26 leading technology companies and 10 non-governmental organisations which took part this week in the UK Government’s two day #WeProtect Children Online summit at Lancaster House.