Latvia

Population

1,986,705

Population 0‑14

14.9%

Internet Users

82.0%

Facebook Users

650,000

Mobile Subscribers

2,800,000
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2005 - The Government of Latvia adopted a new strategic framework for Information Society Policy (i2010), which focused on the completion of a single European information space, strengthening innovation and investment in ICT research, and achieving an inclusive European Information Society. Within the policy, actions such as the Education and Training 2010 Work Program and the Lifelong Learning Program have supported the development of learning in the knowledge society. One of the focus areas of the Lifelong Learning Program is developing innovative ICT-based content, services, pedagogies and practice in order to promote better education and training throughout a citizen’s life.

2006 - In its Information Society Development Guidelines for 2006 - 2013 the Latvian Government set long-term goal to improve citizens ICT skills and knowledge, by updating the ICT equipment in schools, creating multimedia educational tools and integrating ICT through a cross-curricular approach. With the implementation of the guidelines, the Internet has become more widely available, a secure e-signature was introduced, creation of the Latvian State portal gradually increased the number of e-services. Overall, the Latvian citizens and entrepreneurship have become available a larger range of ICT facilities and improved public e-skills.

The same year, Government, with assistance from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched Third Father’s Son (3TD) Project to expand no-cost access to computers and the Internet in Latvia’s public libraries and provide the necessary training and technical support to users and librarians. All public libraries received internet connection during the State Unified Library Information Network (SULIN) project in 2001. In 2007, Microsoft Corporation has donated 8.9 M USD worth of software to 874 libraries and 10 regional librarian training centres. As of 2014, there are three new computers per library now, distributed based on the population of the area. Furthermore, the project has developed several basic IT e-learning tools available in the library portal.

Additionally, in September 2006, in collaboration with the Latvian Internet Association, the secretariat launched the Net-Safe project, establishing Latvian Safer Internet Center under the auspices of the European Union’s Safer Internet Plus program. The Latvian Safer Internet Center seeks to educate children, teens, teachers and parents about safe Internet use and to inform them about possible risks, including emotional impact, misuse of other people’s personal data, fomenting of hatred, racism, violence, child pornography, paedophilia, etc.

2007 - The Latvian Government adopted the National Development Plan 2007 - 2013 where it plan to modernize the ICT infrastructure at all educational institutions.The relevant tasks included the creation of a broadband network with accessibility in all regions, as well as the digitalization of the education system and improvement of the ICT literacy of educators and employees of educational institutions.

2008 - Lattelecom Ltd, largest electronic services provider in Latvia, launched the Connect Latvia project, which provides free computer education for seniors (50+). The goal of the project is to minimise the digital divide in society and prevent the social exclusion of seniors by promoting computer and digital skills. Lattelecom Ltd trains volunteer teachers working in schools, digital centers, libraries, and other institutions with computer classes, who in turn teach the program to seniors. As of 2016, the project has trained 31,010 seniors in basic ICT skills.

The same year, Latvia’s mobile operators signed a code of conduct on safer mobile use by younger teenagers and children. This agreement falls under the umbrella of the European Union’s European Framework for Safer Mobile Use and includes such requirements as the need to offer access control restrictions where adult content is provided. Signatories to the Code take a commitment to raise awareness and promote education for children and parents on safer use of mobile phones and the internet. They also pledge to continue supporting the authorities in their fight against child pornography and to support state initiatives and legal mechanisms for restricting the distribution of illegal content.

2011 - LITKA launched e–GUARDIAN (Development and certification of skills for European Educators focused on Safe ICT and Cyber threat prevention) project in Lithuania, which was funded with the support from European Commision by Leonardo da Vinci program. The project was to created to provide e-safety training and certification program that helps the European teachers familiarize with Internet threats and measures to pass these threats.

2012 - The Ministry of Education and Science developed numerous innovative cross-disciplinary free online e-learning solutions through the Talking Book project. The project advances foreign language skills, cross-cultural communication and social skills of young kids, which was created by kids for kids with the support of IT experts and education professionals.

2013 - Lattelecom Ltd has gradually launched more than 4500 free of charge Wi-Fi hotspots throughout Latvia, including 21 hospitals, 165 educational institutions, the largest Latvian town squares, parks and other outdoor areas and important public places. From 2015 onward Lattelecom Ltd will continue to launch new public Internet hotspots, and will keep upgrading the existing technology solution so that the users would be able have easier connection to free Internet.

2014 - The Latvian Government adopted the Information Society Development Guidelines for 2014 -2020 to continue development of existing policies and to determine the priorities in the area of ICT. The goals of the guidelines is to provide the opportunity for anyone to use ICT, to create a knowledge-based economy and to improve the overall quality of life by contributing the national competitiveness, increasing an economic growth and job creation.

The same year, LIKTA designed “Online collaboration tools in education” training course in line with European Union’s Online4edu. The course was designed to help elementary, secondary and vocational school teachers to acquire online collaboration tools.

2015 - The Ministry of Education and Science, jointly with the National Center for Education, has begun to develop a new ICT study program for schools, which includes an integrated teaching and learning approach. In the frame of a pilot project, five different education program will start from September 2015 that aim at contributing to the development of digital competences as part of a comprehensive curriculum standard, based on learning outcomes, by 2018.

2016 - Latvian Safer Internet Center celebrated Safer Internet Day for the 13th consecutive year. The center organized a number of events and activities involving schools, libraries, children and youth. It held a seminar for teachers about using the internet and technologies in class.

Furthermore, Latvia began observing European Union Get Online Week campaign in 2010. As the national partner of the campaign, the LIKTA organized Internet security and basic ICT skills activities for the Get Online Week 2016. Together with CERT.LV and Latvian Cybersecurity Council, LIKTA ran “Check how safe is your IP address” and “Take the security quiz” campaigns that targeted IT students, high school seniors, and SMEs, as well as introduced different identification tools, including secure electronic signature, and Online4edu Barometer tests for teachers and e-facilitators.

Canee.net

An interactive center for professionals working in the field of child abuse and neglect prevention and intervention in Eastern Europe. It was created in 2001, the website was designed to build upon and promote the professional networks established by the Eastern European Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Program.

Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk (EGCC)

The group is the Children’s Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat that aims to create safe and secure environment for children in the Baltic Sea Region by promoting cooperation on child rights and protection issues. The work is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international and regional conventions, recommendations and guidelines.

Expert Group for Cooperation on Children at Risk (EGCC)

The group is the Children’s Unit at the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat that aims to create safe and secure environment for children in the Baltic Sea Region by promoting cooperation on child rights and protection issues. The work is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other relevant international and regional conventions, recommendations and guidelines.

GSMA Europe

This industry association represents the interests of European mobile network operators. The group engages in lobbying in areas such as children’s use of mobile phones, privacy, digital inclusion and reducing the digital gender gap. In 2008, the organization formed a mobile alliance against child sexual abuse content.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Europe

The ITU is is the UN agency for ICTs. Areas of focus in Europe include improving E-accessibility in Central and Eastern Europe, transitioning Europe to digital broadcasting, and sharing best practices for implementing e-applications.

Internet Governance Forum

The IGF was founded by the UN in 2006 to serve as a discussion platform for internet governance policy issues. It brings together various stakeholders to determine best practices for internet policy. Past areas of focus include cybersecurity, human rights, inclusivity and openness.

INTERPOL

INTERPOL is the world’s largest international police organization, with 190 member countries. Its mission is to enable police forces to collaborate globally to fight crime in the Internet age. Three areas of focus are crimes against children (with a focus on internet crimes and travelling sex offenders), cybercrime and human trafficking.

A Survey on the Transposition of Directive 2011/93/EU on Combating Sexual Abuse and Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography (2016)

Together Against Sexual Exploitation of Children

The study examines how seven key provisions of Directive 2011/93/EU on the fight against sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography have been adopted by the 27 European Union (EU) Member States bound by the Directive.

The impact of internet and new media on the occurrence of violence against children in Europe and Cyprus (2015)

Rosella Sala

This document demonstrate that countries lack of expertise on child sexual exploitation and struggle combating this issue by their own. It suggests to establish an international legal framework to prosecute offenders and protect children.

Education and Training Monitor 2015 - Latvia (2015)

e Directorate-General of Education and Culture

This report presents a general view of the situation of education in Latvia.

How parents of young children manage digital devices at home: the role of income, education and parental style (2015)

Livingstone, Sonia, Mascheroni, Giovanna, Dreier, Michael, Chaudron, Stephane, Lagae, Kaat

The report compares strategies of parental mediation on the internet according to levels of parental education and household income. The aim was to inform policy-makers and practitioners on how to approach parental guidance and awareness raising.

Global Research Project: A Global Landscape of Hotlines Combating Child Sexual Abuse Material on the Internet and an Assessment of Shared Challenges (2015)

Melissa Stroebe, Stacy Jeleniewski, PhD

This report examines hotlines combating Internet-facilitated Child Sexual Abuse Material.

Combatting Child Sexual Abuse (2015)

Petra Jeney

The study provides an overview of existing legislation at European Union, Member State and the international level related to online child sexual abuse, as well as the role of law enforcement agencies in combatting child sexual abuse online and other governmental and private sector initiatives.

Mapping Safer Internet Policies in the Member States (2014)

P. Baudouin, B. Mahieu, T. Dor, B. Good, J. Milayi, S. Nakajima

The purpose of the study was to set up a framework for analysing Better Internet for Children public policies covering EU Member States, and Norway and Iceland.

Children's Use of Online Technologies in Europe (2014)

K. Ólafsson, S. Livingstone, L. Haddon

This report reviews recent research on children’s use of internet and mobile technologies identified by the EU Kids Online network.

Final recommendations for policy (2014)

O’Neill, B., Staksrud, E

Combining all the EU Kids Online policy guidance into one resource, this report provides more than 30 proposed actions for making the Internet safer for children.

Global Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse Online: Latvia (2014)

European Commission

Report on Latvia's commitment to stop Child Sexual Abuse Online

WSIS+10: Overall Review of the Implementation of the WSIS Outcomes: Latvia (2014)

WSIS

Report on the status of implementation of ICT into Latvian society

Zero to Eight - Young Children and Their Internet Use (2013)

Holloway, D., Green, L., and Livingstone, S. with members of the EU Kids Online network,

This report reviews a number of other studies and provides recommendations as to how younger children can be protected from online risks.

Risks and safety on the internet: Comparing Brazilian and European children (2013)

Barbosa, A., O’Neill, B., Ponte, C., Simões, J.A., Jereissati, T.,

This study compares the results of the survey of Brazilian children and their parents/guardians, carried out by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee. Using the same methodology as the EU Kids Online research, the results from Brazil are compared with those from Europe.

EU Kids Online: National perspectives (2012)

Leslie Haddon, Sonia Livingstone and the EU Kids Online network

This report summarizes the Internet experiences of children in the 33 participating EU Kids Online countries and includes eight countries which have not appeared in previous reports

EU Kids Online: National perspectives (2012)

Haddon, L., Livingstone, S., EU Kids Online Network

This report summarizes the Internet experiences of children in the 33 participating EU Kids Online countries and includes eight countries which have not appeared in previous reports.

Advocacy for sustainable public computer access programs: using evidence of library impact on users (2010)

Pilar Pacheco, Kristine Paberza

This paper discusses the ways public libraries and programs that support them use evidence of their impact to prove to stakeholders that they are meeting the users’ needs. I

Education on Online Safety in Schools in Europe (2009)

Eurydice

The study covers 30 European countries and provides information on whether online safety is taught and how it is taught in schools within the participating countries.

Towards a safer use of the Internet for children in the EU - a parents' perspective (2008)

Eurobarometer

The study covers 27 EU Member States and provides parental responses to a range of questions relating to Internet safety and their perception of risk.

The Development of eServices in an Enlarged EU: eLearning in Latvia (2008)

Martins Kalis

Repot on the status of implementation of ICT into the Latvian eduation sector

U.S. /European Summit on Missing & Exploited Children (2005)

International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children

Participants from different governments, law enforcement, and nongovernmental organizations participated in the U.S. /European Summit on Missing & Exploited Children. They discussed successes and shortcomings of current efforts to address the global problem of missing and exploited children, and adopted a comprehensive Action Plan.

Safer Internet for Children and Adolescents in the new Member States. Full Report (2004)

Eurobarometer

This report covers the ten accession countries of the time: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia.

This section contains details of the country’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

The age of consent for sexual activity in Latvia is sixteen. The age of consent for marriage and the age of majority is eighteen.

Latvia has signed, ratified and entered into law the Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime (June 2007).

  • Section 156, Criminal Law. Defamation. States that anyone who defames or demeans the dignity or another person orally, in writing or by acts is liable to community service or a fine of up to 50 times the minimum monthly wage.
  • Section 158, Criminal Law. Defamation and Bringing into Disrepute in Mass Media. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for up to one year, custodial arrest, community service or a fine of up to 30 times the minimum monthly wage for anyone who commits intentional defamation or bringing into disrepute in mass media.
  • Section 159, Criminal Law. Rape. This section states that anyone who commits an act of sexual intercourse by means of violence or threats, or by taking advantage of the helpless state of the female victim, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for up to seven years, with or without police supervision for up to three years. Where the victim is a minor (a person under the age of eighteen) or the offender is a recidivist, an increased penalty of imprisonment for a term of between five to fifteen years will apply, with police supervision for up to three years. The section also states that anyone who rapes a juvenile (a person under the age of fourteen) or where the offense causes serious consequences, the penalty will be imprisonment for life or for a term of between ten to 20 years, with police supervision for up to three years.
  • Section 160, Criminal Law. Forcible Sexual Assault. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for up to six years, or custodial arrest for anyone who commits lesbianism, pederasty or other unnatural sexual acts using violence or threats, or by taking advantage of the victim’s state of helplessness. If the victim is a minor, the offender is a recidivist or the offense was committed by a group of people, an aggravated penalty of imprisonment for three to twelve years with police supervision for up to three years will apply. The section also states that if the victim is a juvenile or where the offense caused serious consequences, the penalty will be imprisonment for life or for a term of between ten to 20 years, with police supervision for up to three years.
  • Section 161, Criminal Law. Sexual Intercourse, Pederasty and Lesbianism with a Person who has not Attained the Age of Sixteen Years. States that anyone of or above the age of eighteen who has sexual intercourse or commits an act of pederasty, lesbianism or other unnatural sexual acts with a person under the age of sixteen is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for up to four years, custodial arrest or community service.
  • Section 162, Criminal Law. Immoral Acts with a Minor. Defines the offense of committing immoral acts with a minor against the minor’s will or committed by a person of or above the age of eighteen. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years, custodial arrest or community service. Anyone who commits immoral acts with a juvenile is liable to an increased penalty of imprisonment for up to six years.
  • Section 162.1, Criminal Law. Encouraging to Involve in Sexual Acts. This section states that anyone of or above the age of eighteen who encourages a person under the age of sixteen to engage in sexual acts or to meet with the aim to commit sexual acts or enter into a sexual relationship (regardless of the way in which the encouraging is expressed) commits an offense. The offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, custodial arrest, or community service. The section also states that where the victim is a minor an aggravated penalty of imprisonment for up to five years will apply, regardless of the age of the offender.
  • Section 164, Criminal Law. Procurement of Person for Prostitution and Compelling Engaging in Prostitution. This section states that it is an offense to procure a person for prostitution, and that the offense is punishable by deprivation of liberty for up to three years, custodial arrest, community service or a fine not exceeding 60 times the minimum monthly wage, with or without confiscation of property. Where the offender uses fraud or takes advantage of the dependency or helplessness of the victim, an increased penalty of imprisonment for two to five years or a fine of up to 120 times the minimum monthly wage, with or without confiscation of property, will apply. The section also states, among other things, that if the victim of any of the above crimes is a minor, or the offense is committed repeatedly or by a group of persons, the sentence will increase further to between five and eight years’ imprisonment, with or without confiscation of property. Where the victim is a juvenile, the offender will be liable to imprisonment for five to twelve years, with or without confiscation of property.
  • Section 165, Criminal Law. Living on the Earnings of Prostitution. Imposes a penalty of imprisonment for up to six years, with or without confiscation of property, for anyone who takes advantage of a person engaged in prostitution for the purpose of enrichment. An increased sentence of up to eight years’ imprisonment will apply if the victim is a minor or if the offense was committed by a group of persons. This will be further increased to five to fifteen years’ imprisonment and police supervision for up to three years if the victim is a juvenile or the offense has been committed by an organized group.
  • Section 165.1, Criminal Law. Sending a Person for Sexual Exploitation. States that anyone who sends a person (with his or her consent) for sexual exploitation, which means any legal or illegal movement, transit or residence of a person for such purpose within one or several country, is guilty of an offense and liable to imprisonment for up to six years. Where the act was committed for purposes of enrichment or by a group of persons pursuant to prior agreement, an increased punishment of up to ten years’ imprisonment will apply. This will be further increased to between eight and fifteen years’ imprisonment with police supervision for up to three years if the act was committed by an organized group.
  • Section 166, Criminal Law. Violation of Provisions Regarding Import, Production and Distribution of Pornographic or Erotic Materials. This section states that anyone who violates provisions regarding the import, production, distribution, public demonstration, playing or advertising of pornographic writings, printed publications, pictures, films, videos, audio recordings or other pornographic materials, if the commission thereof is repeated within a one year period, is liable to imprisonment for up to one year, custodial arrest, community service or a fine of up to 30 times the minimum monthly wage. Anyone who downloads, acquires, keeps, imports, produces, publicly demonstrates, advertises or otherwise distributes pornographic materials that portray the sexual abuse of children, bestiality, necrophilia or violence of a pornographic nature is liable to imprisonment for up to three years, community service or a fine of up to 50 times the minimum monthly wage, with or without confiscation of property. The section also states that anyone who procures or uses a minor in the production or manufacturing of pornographic or erotic materials is liable to imprisonment for up to six years or a fine of up to 80 times the minimum monthly wage, with or without confiscation of property. This will be increased to between five and twelve years’ imprisonment if the victim is a juvenile. Where the crime was committed by an organized group, the penalty will be five to fifteen years’ imprisonment, with police supervision for up to three years.

2006 - The State Inspectorate For Protection Of Children’s Rights created a 24 hour Child and adolescent Helpline (UT) 116111, and currently is managed by the Latvian Internet Safety Institute. It was created with the aim to provide children and adolescents psychological assistance as well as support in crisis situations. In 2015, the helpline received 46,197 calls, of which 13 211 were answered with psychological help and support.

2007 - Latvian Internet Association established hotline, which operates as part of the Latvian Safer Internet Centre as a public mechanism to report illegal material online and in 2008 it became a member of INHOPE. The hotline works with law enforcement, the internet industry, government/policy makers and civilians to combat illegal online content. In addition to combating online child sexual abuse material, the hotline also receives reports about, and attempts to combat, racism/hate speech, adult pornography, bullying, fraud, and extreme violence/threats of extreme violence. As of 2014, the hotline has received a total of 3,557 reports, of which 898 were regarding child sexual abuse material.

2012 - Latvia joined the Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online along with 54 countries around the world. The Alliance unites Ministers of the Interior and of Justice from each country to fight against Child Sexual Abuse Online, to rescue victims, to develop more effective prosecution, and to reduce the amount of child sexual abuse images available online.

2013 - Latvia signed the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.

2014 - In partnership with OAK Foundation, Nobody’s Children Foundation launched “Prevention of Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation in Central and Eastern Europe - A Comprehensive Approach” project, which will be implemented in Latvia through 2019. The project’s aim is to prevent sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children in Central and East European countries. It sets up workshops for teachers, pedagogues, psychologist focusing on resilience building, preventive activities for small children in the field of sexual abuse and conducting educational meeting with parents, risks of sexual exploitation online and offline, consequences, methods used by perpetrators, available tools and resources to run preventive activities with adolescents.

The same year, the Latvian Government adopted the Cyber Security Strategy 2014-2018 that aims to provide secure and reliable cyberspace, which ensures a safe, reliable, and continuous supply of services essential for the state and society. The strategy set plans to include cyber security specialisation in higher education institutions, integrate the issues of ICT security into all levels of the educational system and provide further education of the teaching staff about the issues of cyber security.

2015 - Center Dardedze launched Council of Europe’s 1 of 5 campaign in Latvia, which was launched in 2010 to stop sexual violence against children in Europe, including recruitment online and pornography. The campaign main goals are to achieve further signature, ratification and implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, and to equip children, their families/carers and societies with the knowledge and tools to prevent and report sexual violence against children.