The security for users is based on Verification, Personal Verification Questions, Password and SSL Encryption.
Initially a parent signs up for the Koini system and they are asked to verify themselves by downloading a pre-completed pdf file, signing it and email or faxing it back to the company (alternatively, for convenience, they can be verified via credit card by a nominal payment of $1). This provides the physical address, email address, phone number and other identifying information and an IP address is also known from this account. Once this is reviewed, and when approved, the system is live for the parent.
For the young person, when they first log on to the Koini Browser they are asked a series of questions with one-word answers they can remember. These questions are used as a random question log-in along with password verification. So if someone has acquired the young person's password they would not be able to log in with just that information.
The verification and security processes are the access protections for the platform; the site also runs an encryption process known as 'SSL encryption'. This system scrambles messages exchanged between the Koini browser and its online servers. Encryption makes it very difficult for unauthorized people to view information traveling between computers, making it extremely tough for anyone to intercept and read the page a young person is viewing as it travels across the network.
With this verification process, the parent and the child now have access to three things:
1. The Koini Safe Browser. The parent can download this onto any computer that their kids use and once protection is turned on, the child is unable to IM anyone or search any sites that have not been approved by Koini or the parent. It is important to note that only the parent can turn off use of this browser.
2. Koini Club. This is a social network for young people from 5 - 17 which is totally customizable. From the parent’s dashboard at Koini.com, the parent can now add children and set the parameters for their web experience. For example, if you have a 10 year old girl and you only want her to interact with other 10 year old girls on the Koini Club site then you can do that. If you have 15 year boy and you want him to be able to speak with 14,15 and 16 year old boys and girls then you can that.
3. Koini Cafe. Parents can have fun too, (although our younglings don't seem to think it is allowed) so Koini created the Koini Cafe where parents have the functionality of the Koini Club but for adults. Everyone on the site will have been verified and everyone is a parent, guardian, or family member of a Koini Club member so when you are chatting you can be certain you are speaking with the person they claim to be.
The simplicity of use of the system is something that the company concentrated a lot of effort on, "We are aware that some parents are not as technologically savvy as their children so we had to build a back-end, what we call 'The Dashboard', that had functionality but was easy for parents to navigate" Jorge Sariego, technical Director of Anne's Diary Inc said.
Circle of Trust
"The thing we are most proud of though, is that the Koini Club network is fully customizable. Although it is one large secure database the parameters are controlled by the parents. That has allowed us to build a 'Circle of Trust' around the child just like we, as parents, do in real life."
"For example, parents can add Grandma to Koini Cafe, where she could interact with other Grandma's and parents. Because she is in the 'circle of trust' of the parent, she is able to IM her Granddaughter and chat."
"This did bring up the issue of privacy for the young person; who wants to share their party pictures with their Granny? So the young person can choose, with videos and pictures, how they share in their settings, whether that be friends, family or friends and family. This gives privacy to the young person, which we feel is important."
Koini has chosen to offer the whole Koini package for free, if you download the pre-completed pdf file, or for convenience you can verify with a credit card for a nominal payment of $1. This free cost is a bold move.
"Our aim has always been to develop a platform that is fun and protects kids, we believe we have struck a good balance between the two with Koini. By offering the whole package for free, we feel we will be able to attract a large number of members who will enjoy the platform, which is our goal at the moment not monetization. Of course we have to pay the bills, so in the future there will be next-level paid browsers and paid added value services for our users to choose from."
The test for Koini is that it is in a crowded sector dominated by MySpace and Facebook, however, Jorge Sariego says these sites are not competition. "Facebook and MySpace do things their way, they choose to set up their safety systems in their own way and they feel there are adequate protections in place. We happen to feel that parents should have more say in what their children are doing online, even just as a teaching exercise, to prepare them for an online world”.
"We are not really in the mass market for 300 million members, although this would be nice! We are more in it for that segment of the market where parents want to be able to be able to help their kids learn to be responsible adults on the web. We feel sure that one million members of our site is not an unrealistic figure as we are much more than just a secure social network”.
The Koini platform can be found at http:// www.koini.com.
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Anne's Diary Inc is a developer of secure web sites and technologies for the use of young adults in particular. Developers of the first fingerprint enabled access and security package on the web they have have now concentrated efforts on packaging what they have learned into the Koini.com platform.