Protecting against illegal content on the Internet

Protecting against harmful content on the Internet
Illegal content is more than child pornography. It relates to a wide variety of issues: (1) [national security] instructions on bomb-making, illegal drug production, terrorist activities etc; (2) [protection of minors] abusive forms of marketing, violence, pornography, etc; (3) [protection of human dignity] incitement to racial hatred, racial discrimination etc; (4) [economic security] fraud, instructions on pirating credit cards, etc; (5) [information security] malicious hacking, etc; (6) [protection of privacy] unauthorized communication of personal data, electronic harassment, etc; (7) [protection of reputation] libel, unlawful comparative advertising, etc; (8) [intellectual property] unauthorized distribution of copyrighted works, etc.

Harmful content means both 1) content which is allowed but who distribution is restricted (adults only, for instance) and (2) content which may offend certain users, although its publication is not restricted because of the principle of freedom of expression.

The European Commission has identified the following areas for action: (1) promotion of self-regulation and creation of content-monitoring schemes, including a European network of "hot-lines" - centres to which Internet users can report suspect content; (2) effective filtering services and compatible rating systems, which take account of cultural and linguistic diversity; and (3) promotion of awareness actions directed at users, in particular children, parents and teachers, to enable safe and confident use.

At 1997, hotlines to report suspect Internet content had been established in Austria, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.
1. Illegal and harmful content on the Internet could become the object of strong resistance to internet use, thus hampering a development which has the promise of extensive and varied benefits to all sectors of society.

2. In the area of illegal content, closer cooperation between industry and law enforcement authorities is needed.

3. Only hours after the Oklahoma City bombing, someone posted on the Internet directions -- including a diagram -- explaining how to construct a bomb of the type that was used in that tragic act of terrorism. Another Internet posting offered not only information concerning how to build bombs, but also instructions as to how the device used in the Oklahoma City bombing could have been improved.

Counter Claim:
Questions arise about who, exactly, will decide which content is "racist" or "xenophobic?" Will internet service providers be held liable for the content on websites for which they serve only as host? How can internet users' privacy rights be protected. More to the point, should any governmental authority "police" the content of web sites?
Type Classification:
E: Emanations of other strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions