Combating illegal, harmful and predatory use of the Internet requires responses at national, EU and international levels. Ireland is fully committed to playing its part, at home and internationally, to both detect and prevent child pornography. Ireland's Child Trafficking and Pornography Act (1998) is acknowledged as one of the most robust pieces of legislation anywhere.
Safer Internet Programme
The European Union has taken a strong line on combating child prnography and other illegal and harmful uses of the internet. Since 1999, with the launch of the Safer Internet Action Plan, the EU has provided financial and other supports for measures in member states to combat illegal and harmful uses of the internet with particular emphasis on protecting children.
The Council of the European Union undertook its first initiative against illegal content on the Internet in July 1996, by adopting the action plan for combating racism and xenophobia. In 1997 the EU Telecoms Council adopted the resolution o nillegal and hrarmful content on the Internet. In January 1999 the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union adopted the Action Plan on promoting safe use of the Internet by combating illegal and harmful content on global networks. By force of this document the European Commission launched the first Safer Internet Programme under the Safer Internet Action Plan (SIAP) - to promote safe use of the Internet and other new technologies, including the new generation of mobile phones, online games, chatrooms and instant messaging software.
Following the adoption in 2012 of the European Strategy to Make the Internet a Better Place for Children it is referred to as Better Internet for Kids (BIK).
The continuation of the programme is provided under the Connecting Europe Facility.
For more information on the EU Safer Internet Programme please click here.
Safer Internet Ireland Project
The Safer Internet Ireland project is a consortium of industry, education, child welfare and government partners that acts as a Safer Internet Centre in Ireland providinng awareness, hotline and helpline functions and activities in the REpublic of Ireland. The project, coordinated by the OIS aims to develop national initiatives promoting the safer use of electronic media and ehance protection of the vulnerable, particularly children, against the downside of the Internet. This consortium builds on the experience gained from the previous highly successful but independently run Safer Internet projects.
The key objectives of the project are:
- Create high profile, tightly coordinated, national safer internet actions that are sustainable in to the future as technologies and uses of new media develop.
- Develop materials and programmes of awareness to ensure that children, teachers and parents understand the benefits and risks of the Internet. These will also advise on the necessity and means to report should illegal or harmful content be encountered.
- Make available a professionally run counselling service where children affected by issues encountered on the Internet may turn for advice and guidance.
- Operate an Internet hotline service to the highest professional standards that is trusted by the public to allow anonymous confidential reporting of suspected illegal content or activities encountered on the Internet.
How the project is managed
The OIS acts as co-ordinator of the project, with overall responsibility for the financial & administrative aspects of the project.
The project partners are:
|The PDST Technology in Education, which acts as technical coordinator for the Awareness Node, which has primary responsibility for the development of material and programmes of awareness to ensure children, teachers and parents understand the benefits and risks of the internet through initiatives such as www.webwise.ie|
|The Internet Service Providers' Association of Ireland (ISPAI) which is the technical coordinator of the hotline, the service which allows the public to report suspected illegal content or activities found on the internet.|
|The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) is the technical coordinator of the Helpline (Childline), which provides on a 24/7 basis services where children affected by issues encountered on the Internet may turn for advice and guidance.|
|The National Parents Council Primary (NPC) is the technical coordinator of the parent/adult Helpline, a dedicated helpline to deal with issues relating to internet safety including cyberbullying. The NPC also provides parents's face to face and online training courses.|
The project partners are co-financed by the European Union's Connecting Europe Facility
Within the combined node, the Awareness node, the Hotline and the Helpline retain their operational independence.
However all the partners in the consortium cooperate through the following:
- Use of a single advisory board comprised of key stakeholders, the Internet Safety Advisory Committee, which plays a key role in advising the OIS, and by extension the Minister and the Government on key internet safety issues.
- Regular exchange of information about their respective activities.
- Working with a single financial/administrative coordinator, the OIS.