EU moves against illegal and harmful content online

29 May 2003

The European Parliament and Council has adopted a two-year extension to the Safer Internet Action Plan, upon the proposal of the European Commission. The move forms part of Europe’s effort to tackle illegal and harmful content on the internet and new delivery platforms such as mobile phones.

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.

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(pictured), says: “It is important that everyone, including parents understand the internet and, in particular, the way their children can use it. The extension of the Safer Internet Action Plan is an important step in this direction.”

The extended Safer Internet Action Plan includes measures to encourage the exchange of information and co-ordination with the relevant players 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 – that is 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.

By Lisa Deeney