The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today launched the Annual Report for 2012 of Hotline.ie, which provides an anonymous facility for the public to report suspected illegal content encountered on the Internet, in a secure and confidential way.
Speaking today, Minister Shatter said "The purpose of Hotline.ie is to protect individuals and families from harmful material on the Internet and to encourage, promote and assist in the development of Internet safety awareness. The service has become an important instrument in Ireland's defence against child pornography as well as any other illegal website content. Hotline.ie examines reports from members of public, including concerned parents, about illegal content on websites and where necessary traces them back to wherever they are hosted."
The Minister emphasised that the service is free and confidential and any person making a report to Hotline.ie can if they wish remain anonymous. He added that Hotline.ie works closely with the Gardaí and with the international network of similar agencies under the umbrella body, INHOPE.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister noted that the number of reports received during 2012 was up by 20% compared with 2011 and he remarked that this was the highest level of reporting since the opening of Hotline.ie in 1999, demonstrating the success of the service.
According to the Minister "One of Hotline.ie's great strengths is that it allows members of the public to play a direct role in reporting suspected illegal content on the internet. It gives every internet user an opportunity to participate in the fight against the spread of the illegal content. While most reports related to alleged child pornography, the hotline can also deal with financial scams or any illegal matter."
The Minister thanked the management and staff of Hotline.ie for their challenging and excellent work and acknowledged the continuing financial and other support by the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland and the EU.
29 April 2013
Note for Editors:
Child Pornography Hotline [(www.hotline.ie)
- www.hotline.ie service was launched in November, 1999. The hotline provides a central point of contact for members of the public who become aware of any child pornography or any other illegal content on the Internet in Ireland. The hotline accepts reports about such material and attempts to identify the source. If the material is hosted in Ireland, it will request the relevant ISP to remove it, in accordance with the Code of Practice and Ethics. The hotline liaises with the Gardaí as appropriate.
- To provide a fast response to illegal material that is hosted outside the Irish jurisdiction, the Hotline is a member of INHOPE, the international organisation of Internet Hotlines. The INHOPE organisation applies rigorous standards to which its members must adhere. These are provided in the INHOPE Code of Practice to which Hotline has signed up.
- 2012 result details a total of 2,950 reports of suspected illegal content were processed by Hotline.ie during 2012 (2,411 in 2011). A total of 116 unique illegal content reports in 2012 (92 in 2011) of which 96 were child sexual abuse (also known as child pornography) content in 2012 (83 in 2011).
The Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland funds the operating costs of the hotline. In 2012, the Hotline received funding for up to 60% of its eligible operating costs from the EU Safer Internet Programme.