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Business News (more headlines) 06-02-2003

EU Moves Against Illegal And Harmful Content Online

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As part of Europe's determined effort to tackle illegal and harmful content on the Internet and new delivery platforms such as mobile phones, a two year extension to the Safer Internet Action Plan has been adopted by the European Parliament and Council upon the proposal of the European Commission.

To better equip parents and children with the tools and awareness they need for daily life in an Information Society, the EU Council has agreed with the European Parliament to accept the Commission's proposal for a two-year extension to the Safer Internet Action Plan. This is the EU's response to tackling the controversial issue of illegal and harmful content on the Internet. The Action plan supports a network of hotlines in Europe where illegal content can be reported. It encourages self-regulation; benchmarks content filtering and rating systems and supports a European network of safer internet awareness centres.

Erkki Liikanen, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, said: "It is important that everyone, including parents understand the Internet, and in particular the way their children can use it. The extension of our Internet Action Plan is an important step in this direction."

The extended Safer Internet Action Plan includes measures to encourage exchange of information and co-ordination with the relevant actors at national level, and has special provisions for accession countries. Actors in the field of self-regulation are brought together through a forum - the Safer Internet Forum - modelled on the EU cyber-crime forum. The extended action plan covers many different types of illegal content or conduct including racist material, and takes account of new online technologies such as mobile and broadband content, online games, peer-to-peer file transfer and all forms of real-time communications such as chat rooms and instant messages. The networks of hotlines and awareness nodes continue to be key instruments of the programme, alongside the benchmarking of filtering software.

First calls for proposals under the Safer Internet Action Plan (€13.3 million.) will be launched in July 2003.

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