Leadership Series: Spotlight on NetClean
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Leadership Series: Spotlight on NetClean

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Digital Declaration Leadership Series: Spotlight on NetClean

The Digital Declaration report ‘Navigating the era of responsible business leadership in today’s world’ showcases how the Digital Declaration signatories are turning their aspirations into concrete actions and how technology can foster an inclusive, trusted and innovative digital society for all.

This series of interviews provides a spotlight on individual leaders sharing their insights and perspectives around trust, inclusion and innovation in the digital age.


In conversation with Anna Borgström, CEO of NetClean.

What does responsible business leadership mean to NetClean? How are you embodying the principles of the Digital Declaration?

We are contributing to making the online experience safer and to create a brighter future for children. We do this by building technologies to detect child sexual abuse material on work computers, business mobile phones and in IT environments. We believe businesses are in a unique position to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material. We know work computers are used to consume this material and by following the trail of a detected image, we know new material can be found and children can be rescued, so that is our contribution. But we also contribute by providing collaboration opportunities for our customers and other stakeholders in society such as law enforcement. We believe that to be a vital part of the fight against child sexual abuse material.

In your view, what will empower business leaders to make permanent shifts to more ethical ways of working? How do business models need to change to achieve this?

It is a big question but I think customers and future employees demand the business they purchase from and work for, serve a greater good and give back to the society where they do business. Businesses that don’t do this, will probably fail. I think businesses have an opportunity to protect society’s most vulnerable – children – and that this is essential if we want to establish an inclusive society, built on humanity. When it comes to business models, I believe we need to change how we measure business success and include the social impact that we have. It is not just about the numbers anymore; we have to find other ways of measuring societal impact. It applies both to the owners of businesses and those who are investing money in businesses. Before they do, they need to consider what kind of businesses they are investing in, and they need to develop methods to assess where the business stands in relation to society and what they do to contribute back to society.

What do you see as the responsibilities of the business community versus those of government as it relates specifically to online safety?

Governments are always responsible for regulations and policies, but I think innovations and solutions more often come from businesses – and you cannot expect governments to regulate everything. Governments come and go while companies last for extended periods. In Sweden, many of our companies are more than 100 years old, so if you as a leader can put in the right vision and processes, you can drive big businesses to deliver ethical values for many years. This supports both the business and society to truly benefit in the long term.

You recently released the 2020 edition of the NetClean Report, looking closer at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected child sexual abuse crime globally. What are the key takeaways for business leaders?

The main take away for business leaders is that they, by taking responsibility and making sure their company owned equipment can’t be used to consume child sexual abuse material, can make a positive change for victimised children. In the NetClean Report – COVID-19 Impact 2020 we can see that the pandemic has created an environment with increased risks to children and it has also affected law enforcement’s capacity to investigate child sexual abuse crimes. We also looked at drivers behind businesses’ decision to stop child sexual abuse material from appearing in their IT-environments, and the single most important reason for protecting the business IT environment and IT equipment is a desire to operate ethically.

Find out more on the Digital Declaration: www.digitaldeclaration.com