In 1997 the Government asked the Department of Justice and Law Reform to establish a working group to examine the issue of illegal and harmful use of the internet. The Report of the Working Group on the Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet was published in July 1998.
The key recommendations of the Report were for a system of self-regulation by the Internet Service Providers, to be composed of the following.
- Establishment of an Internet Advisory Board to promote awareness of internet downside issues, co-ordinate efforts to tackle child pornography on the internet and monitor progress of self regulation by the Internet Service Provider (ISP) Industry.
- A public Hotline for reporting child pornography.
- An industry Code of Practice and Ethics setting out the duties and responsibilities of each service provider.
The Internet Advisory Board was established in February, 2000. The Board was chaired by an independent chairperson and its members included representatives from the Internet Service Providers' Industry Association of Ireland, An Garda Síochána, Child Protection interests, relevant Government Departments, the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner and the then National Consultative Committee on Racism in Ireland (NCCRI) .
The Boards main responsibilities were
- Helping to implement the Report of the Working Group on the Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet including assistance to the industry in further developing the codes of practice and ethics
- Commissioning research into Internet downside issues
- Promoting awareness of potential dangers for children
- Reviewing the work of the public hotline www.hotline.ie for reporting child pornography.
- Examining specific downside issues which are brought to the attention of the Board
- Making progress reports
In 2007, the Government approved a proposal by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform to strengthen the internet safety framework with the establishment of the Office for Internet Safety. The OIS was established to further strengthen cohesion across Government Departments and bodies and provide for a more effective and transparent enforcement structure in relation to the Industry Code of Practice and Ethics.
While the OIS has taken over executive responsibility from the Internet Advisory Board for measures to promote a safer internet, there will continue to be a key role for an Advisory Body on internet issues, drawing together all the major stakeholders.
The OIS convened an advisory body, the Internet Safety Advisory Council, which first met in 2009. The Internet Safety Advisory Council was renamed the Internet Safety Advisory Committee in 2012. For information on the Internet Safety Advisory Committee (ISAC) please click here.