OIS and Oversight of Internet Service Provision in Ireland

The Office for Internet Safety (OIS) plays a key role of monitoring and overseeing the existing self-regulatory framework which is in place between the State and the Internet Service Providers operating here in Ireland.


The Report of the Working Group on Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet, published in July 1998 made a number of key recommendations. Among the key recommendations of the Group was that a system of self-regulation would be put in place for the regulation of Internet Service Providers and their activities .


Central to the Government’s agreement to allowing a self-regulatory model to be adopted was the agreement of the Internet Service Providers Industry, represented by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) to commit to a number of specific actions , including the development of systems to allow members of the public to report suspected instances of child pornography that they may come across on the internet and the development of an industry wide code of practice and ethics setting out the duties and responsibilities of internet service providers.


The Office for Internet Safety does not have a formal "regulator" role. Its primary function is to monitor the current self-regulatory model that is in existence in Ireland. This self regulation role has been adopted world-wide as the most effective method of supporting ISPs in delivering an effective self-regulatory framework. The OIS will monitor the voluntary compliance of ISPs with their Code of Practice and Ethics.


While the self-regulatory model is operating effectively at present, the Government has indicated that were this not to be the case then the OIS may have to prepare compliance statements with the Industry which the OIS would then regulate and monitor. If this is still not effective, then regulation by statute could be an option.  


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