Protection of children online imperative, says Minister

13 Oct 2004

Work is under way to resolve the problem of minors accessing inappropriate material such as porn online or on mobile devices, Communications Minister Noel Dempsey TD said today. He also said his department is advancing plans for the creation of a register of prepaid mobile phone users and forthcoming 3G phones, similar to the register mooted by his predecessor Dermot Ahern TD in August.

“Staff imembers in my department are interested in publishing a register of prepaid mobile phone users as a means of preventing the distribution or downloading of inappropriate materials on mobile devices. We have the same aim as the industry in this regard, it is vital for the protection of e-commerce going forward,” Dempsey said.

In June, Minister Ahern sought proposals on what measures mobile companies could take to protect children when the next generation of mobile phones come on stream later this year. Among the ideas mooted was the creation of a register of the names of all users would, along with filtering technologies, to help combat a likely problem. Ahern said that even the use of current generation mobile technology has caused concern for gardaí.

At this morning’s Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) conference, Dempsey drew attention to the Government’s website aimed at raising awareness among consumers of the dangers that inappropriate material and security threats, such as fraud, hacking and viruses, represent and how they could protect against becoming victims.

“We need to raise greater awareness of basic issues for computer security at home and in the local business community and I would like to highlight the combined efforts of my department, industry and ComReg to create the best possible environment to increase availability of e-services to Irish people,” Dempsey said.

By John Kennedy