(Google European Public Policy Blog) As a host for other people's content, YouTube aims to be a strong platform for free expression, while respecting individual choice and protecting young people from inappropriate content and exploitation. Over the past year, we've bolstered our efforts in four major areas: (1) developing clear policies about what is and is not acceptable on the site; (2) constructing robust mechanisms to enforce these policies; (3) rolling out innovative product features that enable safe behaviour; and (4) upping our educational efforts to increase user awareness of how to stay safe on the site.
(IDG News Service) Online consumers should get more information about what information is being tracked and collected for the purposes of behavioral advertising, and they should have more control over what data is being collected, according to new privacy principles released by four advertising trade groups. Online advertising networks should also "maintain appropriate physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards" to protect data collected, and they should retain the data "only as long as necessary to fulfill a legitimate business need, or as required by law," the principles said. see also Self-regulatory principles for behavioral advertising (Google Polciy Blog) by Pablo Chavez. Of course, for any self-regulatory effort to be effective, there has to be some kind of enforcement process. See also Four Privacy Protections the Online Ad Industry Left Out and An Icon That Says They?re Watching You (New York Times).
(Europa) Tuenti and Rate are popular social networking services for young people in Spain and Estonia. By committing themselves to the "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU" they take a step forward in keeping their online services safe. Signatories to the Principles committed to send to the European Commission a self-declaration, highlighting the way they implement the provisions of the Principles. As of 17 June 2009 the following companies have sent their self-declarations: Arto, Bebo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Google, Hyves, Microsoft Europe, MySpace, nasza-klasa.pl, Netlog, One.lt, Piczo, Rate.ee, Skyrock, StudiVZ.de, Sulake/Habbo, Tuenti ,Yahoo! Europe, Zap.lu. The European Commission will monitor the implementation of the Principles and it will publish the results of its assessment in February 2010. The "Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU" is a self-regulatory agreement signed on 10 February 2009 by 18 major social networking providers active in Europe. These Principles have been developed by SNS providers in consultation with the European Commission, as part of its Safer Internet Programme, and a number of NGOs, to provide good practice recommendations for the providers of social networking and other user interactive sites, to enhance the safety of children and young people using their services.
(RAPID) The European Commission today called on mobile operators to do more to keep children safe while using mobile phones by putting in place all the measures in the voluntary code of conduct, signed by 26 mobile operators in 2007. A report just published by the GSM Association, the trade body of the mobile phone industry, showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States, 90% of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80% of operators have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.
(ElectronLibre) Le 10 février lors d'une cérémonie que l'on attend pleine d'entrain, Viviane Reding, la commissaire européennes en charge des médias et de la société de l'information, signera avec des représentants du Web 2.0 une énième charte. Celle-ci est sensée garantir que l´internet devienne/reste un espace de sécurité pour les enfants. L'événement aura lieu au Luxembourg et sera également l´occasion d´une remise du prix "INSAFE competition". Jean-Louis Schiltz, Ministre des Communications du Luxembourg sera également présent.Du côté de l´Internet, seront essentiellement présents des acteurs comme Skyblog, Dailymotion, MySpace, Yahoo !, Facebook, AOL ou encore Vivendi. La journée se terminera pas la diffusion d´un clip intitulé "Internet is fun, keep it fun, keep control ! Block bullying online !" - Que l´on peut résumé par "L´internet est amusant, préservons le.
(BBC) Firms are being encouraged to back a pledge to safeguard the data they hold about citizens and customers. Drafted by the Information Commissioner, the Personal Information Promise tries to improve respect for the data companies have gathered. Firms and organisations who use data that people surrender do not always take enough care with it, said Richard Thomas, Information Commissioner. 2008 saw a series of data breaches and losses that left the personal details of millions of people at risk from ID thieves. By signing up to the promise firms say they will go beyond the strictures laid down by law which govern what they can do with the personal data they hold on their customers or clients. Those backing the promise will be exhorted to consider privacy risks when they start work on new information systems that draw on databases of personal data. They must also put in place safeguards to ensure data is securely stored and does not fall into the hands of ID thieves. On the day the promise was launched 20 organisations pledged to back it. Those signing up included BT, Vodafone, Royal Mail, British Gas, Experian, Equifax, AstraZeneca and T-Mobile. see Personal Information Promise and Press Release.
(Net Family News) "It's a bad week for Internet porn,"a Wired blogger reports. Indeed. Given the news from Ning and now with YouTube "cracking down on sexually suggestive content," as VentureBeat reports. Here's some of what YouTube's crackdown looks like: "Videos that are 'sexually suggestive' (but not prohibited) will now be age-restricted to viewers 18 or older [if younger ones are truthful about their ages when they register]. In addition, these types of videos will be algorithmically demoted on pages like 'Most Viewed' and 'Top Favorites'." Also, "thumbnails" (little still images that represent videos in YouTube) will be automatically generated by the site rather than chosen by the videos' creators.
(New York Times) A long article by Jeffery Rosen about Google's and YouTube's relationship with national censorship laws. Over the past couple of years, Google and its various applications have been blocked, to different degrees, by 24 countries.
(FSM) Die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter e.V. (FSM)
und die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Fernsehen e.V. (FSF) werden in Zukunft eng zusammenarbeiten. Das haben die Vorstände beider Selbstkontrollen beschlossen. Hintergrund ist die fortschreitende Konvergenz der Medien, die ermöglicht, gleiche Inhalte über verschiedene Vertriebskanäle abzurufen.
(Heise) Ein Jahr nach der Unterzeichnung einer Selbstverpflichtung für mehr Jugendschutz durch Mobilfunkanbieter und die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter (FSM) ziehen die beteiligten Unternehmen positive Bilanz. Die vom rheinland-pfälzischen Jugendministerium initiierte Selbstverpflichtung sei erfolgreich umgesetzt worden, teilte die FSM mit.
(Washington Post) The video-sharing service YouTube is banning submissions that involve "inciting others to violence," following criticism from Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman that the site was too open to terrorist groups disseminating militant propaganda. The company earlier this year removed some of the videos that Lieberman targeted, many of which were marked with the logos of al-Qaeda and affiliated groups. But the company refused to take down most of the videos on the senator's list, saying they did not violate the Web site's guidelines against graphic violence or hate speech. Now that videos inciting others to violence are banned, more videos by the terrorist groups in question may be removed.
(OUT-LAW News) Some of the biggest technology and internet companies in the world have agreed a set of standards to protect human rights online that they hope the whole IT industry will adopt. Google, Microsoft, Vodafone, Yahoo! and others agreed 18 months ago to try to create a code of conduct for companies who wanted to behave in a way that respected human rights. Those companies and others are now close to finalising a code of conduct for companies under the banner 'ICT Initiative on Freedom of Expression and Privacy'.
(Techtree News) Technology giants like Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have reached an agreement with other Internet companies and human rights groups to draw up a voluntary code of conduct for doing business in countries like China that impose restrictions on Internet. The three companies have sent separate letters to Sen. Richard Durbin (D., Ill.), and Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.). Among the few specifics about the code mentioned in the letters include formulating principles on freedom of expression and privacy, identifying guidelines for their implementation, and drawing up a governance, accountability and learning framework.
(Guardian) A hardline letter sent by the BPI at the 11th hour threatened to undermine a deal to tackle illegal filesharing, prompting the government to express its displeasure of the music industry body in a terse response to record label executives. The BPI's letter, signed by the body's chief executive, Geoff Taylor, was sent to Baroness Vadera, the business minister; the UK's six biggest internet service providers; and the Motion Picture Association of America, the Hollywood studios' trade organisation.
(Computerworld) The Communications minister has signaled the Australian government's support for the Content Services Code, an Internet Industry Association code of practice for providers of online and mobile phone content. This establishes a framework for the regulation of content services, such as Internet streaming and 3G mobile services, to provide protection to children from exposure to unsuitable content and ensure content providers adhere to requirements of the new code.
(OUT-LAW News) A Code of Practice to ensure that internet service providers (ISPs) offer greater clarity over customers' broadband line speeds was published by Ofcom today. The Code does not require the disclosure of average speeds, but Ofcom said that might change. Some 32 ISPs, covering over 90% of broadband customers, have already agreed to honour both the letter and the spirit of the Code to give consumers a clearer understanding of the speeds they can get. Signatories include BT Total Broadband, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Tiscali and AOL Broadband.
(BBC) Teachers in Scotland have been asked to adhere to a new code of conduct. Drawn up by regulatory body the General Teaching Council of Scotland, it warns teachers to be careful when online and approached by pupils. School teachers using their home computers have been warned about the dangers of putting too much personal information on the internet.
(Guardian) Nearly half of all internet users would support a voluntary code of conduct for bloggers and online commentators, according to research. A survey by legal firm DLA Piper said 46% of web users think bloggers should sign up to a code that reflected the laws on defamation, intellectual property and incitement, with 15% ambivalent and 4% strongly opposed.
(Heise) Sperrverfügungen für Inhalte im Internet "greifen in erheblichem Umfang in die Meinungsfreiheit der Inhaltsanbieter, die Informationsfreiheit der Nutzer sowie die Berufsfreiheit der Internetprovider ein." Zu diesem Ergebnis kommt das von der Kommission für Jugendmedienschutz (KJM) vorgestellte Gutachten zu Sperrverfügungen im Internet. Wegen der Grundrechtseingriffe und der möglichen Beeinträchtigung der technischen Funktion des Netzes müssten "schwierige rechtliche Abwägungen und Verhältnismäßigkeitsprüfungen im Einzelfall" den Maßnahmen immer vorangehen, heißt es in dem Gutachten weiter. Der KJM-Vorsitzende Wolf-Dieter Ring sagte, die KJM habe bewusst in den vergangenen fünf Jahren keine Verfügung erlassen. Vielmehr setze man auf einen Dialog mit den Zugangsanbietern, damit diese selbst Verantwortung übernähmen und Inhalte auf freiwilliger Basis sperrten.
(RAPDI) The European video games sector is dynamic, with expected revenue of 7.3 billion by the end of 2008. However, public concerns that video games can cause aggressive behaviour, heightened by school shootings such as in Helsinki (Finland, November 2007), have led several national authorities to ban or block video games such as "Manhunt 2". In response, the European Commission has surveyed existing measures protecting minors from harmful video games across the 27 EU Member States. 20 EU Member States now apply PEGI (Pan European Games Information), an age-rating system developed by industry, with EU support, since 2003. In the Commission's view, industry must invest more to strengthen and in particular to regularly update the PEGI system so that it becomes a truly effective pan-European tool. Also, industry and public authorities should step up cooperation to make classification and age rating systems better known and to avoid confusion caused by parallel systems. A Code of Conduct for retailers should be drawn up within two years on sales of video games to minors. See Communication on the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games COM(2008) 207 final.
(Xinhua) China's eight leading online media officially sanctioned to publish news have signed the "Chinese Pact on the Self-discipline on Visual-Audio Programs and Services of the Internet", urging all domestic websites to spread positive, healthy programs and boycott corrupt, outdated ones. It urges all the signers to abide by the country's laws, regulations and policies on the development and management of the Internet culture and boycott programs, including films, teleplays and cartoons that advocate elements in the catch-all categories of violence, pornography, gambling and terror.
(Guardian) Media companies including the BBC, Channel 4, Google, Yahoo and social-networking site Bebo have signed up to a new code of conduct, designed to give parents more information about the suitability for children of audiovisual content available on the internet and mobile phones. The new content information guidelines have been developed by industry and the government's independent advisory body the Broadband Stakeholder Group, backed by regulator Ofcom. For the first time, they extend the existing principles of broadcast consumer guidance across the wider new media industry. The guidelines do not cover user-generated content such as that found on YouTube or adverts. Instead, they call for all commercially generated content available online or on mobile phones to be flagged if it is unsuitable for particular age groups or contains content that may harm or offend. See Good Practice Principles on Audiovisual Content Information.
(Times) A scheme to prevent children accessing pornography, gambling and other adult services on the latest mobile phones is to be reviewed by the telecoms regulator. The inquiry has been triggered by complaints from charities about the project, which was launched at the request of the Home Office. It could lead to the voluntary code being replaced with tough new rules.
(OUT-LAW News) The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has issued its first ever ruling on video content published online by a newspaper. It said that the Hamilton Advertiser breached school pupils' rights to privacy with a video of an unruly classroom.
(MediaGuardian.co.uk) The gambling industry has agreed a new marketing code that includes a pre-9pm watershed ban on TV advertising and an end to branding on children's replica football shirts. The voluntary code for socially responsible advertising, supported by 12 industry bodies including the British Casino Association, has been hurriedly drawn up following pressure from the new culture secretary, James Purnell.
(RAND Europe) RAND Europe invite contributions to an online survey from all Internet users with knowledge of self-regulatory institutions. This research institute is conducting fieldwork for the European Commission to evaluate options for and effectiveness of self-regulation in the Information Society. The findings and recommendations will be validated by means of a key stakeholder workshop and reported in a form suitable for wide dissemination and discussion. The final date for completion of the online survey is the 31st October 2007.
(RAPID) The European Commission is asking professional associations in the EU to provide information on their codes of conduct, either existing or in preparation, and to give their opinions on how best to develop codes of conduct at European level. Encouraging the development of such codes of conduct could contribute to the improvement of quality of service, which is an important aspect of the Services Directive, due to be implemented in Member States by end 2009. The consultation, which is in the form of an online questionnaire, is open until 30 July 2007.
Thousands of LiveJournal customers are rebelling against the company's recent decision to censor hundreds of sex-themed discussion groups, a broad swath that has led to the removal of literary critiques and fan-written fiction about Harry Potter. LiveJournal deleted around 500 journals this week in hopes of better "protecting children."
(GameSpot) While concerned parents and legislators have criticized the gaming industry as selling violent games to children, a report by the Federal Trade Commission names the gaming industry as the most improved media when it comes to keeping children from inappropriate content. see also FTC: Games better regulated than music, movies (Ars Technica).
(BBC) Readers should be warned when they are reading blogs that may contain "crude language", a draft blogging code of conduct has suggested.
The code was drawn up by web pioneer Tim O'Reilly following published threats and perceived harassment to US developer Kathy Sierra on blogs. The draft says people should not be allowed to leave anonymous comments. Blogs which are open and uncensored should post an "anything goes" logo to the site to warn readers, the code suggests.
(BBC) The support for a blogger hounded by death threats has intensified with some high profile web experts calling for a code of conduct in the blogosphere. Kathy Sierra, the female blogger at the centre of the row has been shocked to discover that hers is not an isolated incident. See also Call for a Blogger's Code of Conduct (Tim O'Reilly).
(Press Release) Companies investing in user generated content (UGC) websites must consider how they will protect their brands from negative or inappropriate submissions from site users, according to a new white paper from UGC moderation company, eModeration. The paper, Six Techniques for Safer User Generated Content Campaigns, details techniques for creators of UGC sites to protect both their brand reputations and their users; while creating a site that is fun and engaging for users.
(RAPID) In a rapidly evolving digital world, self- and co-regulatory models can be attractive alternatives to traditional regulations, according to a study for the European Commission. The study on co-regulation measures in the media sector was undertaken for the Commission by the Hans-Bredow Institut for media research, at the University of Hamburg, in cooperation with the Institute for European Media Law in Saarbrücken, and presented today in Brussels. It concluded that, in general, industry needs sufficient incentives to support such a regime. Having a state run regulator in the background often gives self-regulatory bodies the power they need to work effectively. In addition, sufficient means to enforce regulations, such as adequate and proportional sanctions seem to be necessary for a co-regulatory system to be workable.
(Vodaphone) Mobile phones offer a wide range of features including picture messaging, downloadable pictures and video clips, games and internet access. These technologies bring significant benefits to our business and personal lives, but can also raise concerns about misuse. We care about our customers and have developed tools to combat spam and enable parents to protect their children from inappropriate content, contact and commercialism. The implementation of our content standards varies between markets reflecting local cultures and specific areas of concern. see also Privacy.
(Press Release) Ofcom today published research which reveals the importance of effective industry self-regulation and consumer empowerment in addressing consumer protection issues on the internet. The report examines the broad range of processes used in the UK and other countries to address a number of consumer protection issues online, including illegal or harmful internet content.
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. Web site operators posting sexually explicit information must place official government warning labels on their pages or risk being imprisoned for up to five years, the Bush administration proposed. A mandatory rating system will 'prevent people from inadvertently stumbling across pornographic images on the Internet,' Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said at an event in Alexandria, Va. see
Internet Content Rating Association Response (ICRA). ICRA strongly believes that self-regulation of legal Internet content leads to the best balance between the free flow of digital content and the protection of children from potentially harmful material. A nationally mandated system like the one proposed today for sites with sexually explicit material cannot guarantee international compliance.
(Broadband Stakeholder Group) The Co- and Self-Regulatory Forum was established in November 2005 in response to the European Commission?s references in their revised Television Without Frontiers (TWF) Directive to the important role that co- and self-regulation has in delivering public policy objectives in the audiovisual media sector.
(EUObserver) European Commission vice-president Franco Frattini has said media should sign up to a voluntary code of conduct on reporting on Islam and other religions, in a bid to avoid future Danish cartoon-type disputes. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Mr Frattini argued that the cartoons in Danish paper Jyllands-Posten 'humiliated' millions of Muslims. He said journalists and media chiefs should be aware of their responsibility when exercising their right of freedom of expression, and that they should voluntarily agree to self-regulation in cases where sensitive religious issues are involved. The European Commission is planning to discuss details of such a code of conduct with press organisations and major media outlets in the coming months.
(RAND Europe) RAND Europe informed a European Commission assessment of revising and extending the existing TV without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive to include all audiovisual services in Europe, including those distributed through the Internet. The RAND Europe report advises against precipitate action without full evidential support and recommends, as far as possible, a flexible approach based on self and joint-regulation by the industry with regulatory bodies that audit the effectiveness of such schemes. The proposed Directive has been published in draft form and will be debated by the European Parliament later this year.
(CommsWatch) The Foreign Policy Centre organised a seminar on the subject of the revision of the European Television Without Frontiers Directive. The keynote address was given by the DCMS Minister for Creative Industries, James Purnell. He expressed 'serious concerns' about the proposed extension of the Directive to all audio-visual material and claimed that the proposals would mean 'a significant regulation of the Internet'. Other speakers covered the definitional problem of the proposed Directive with the distinction between linear and non-linear services being at best porous and at worst unenforceable. However, it was conceded that the UK position is currently an isolated one and it was generally agreed that much more needs to be done to explain to our European partners how self-regulatory processes and practices could deliver what the Commission is seeking to achieve.
(BBC) A UK consumer watchdog has called for new laws to protect users' rights to use digital music and movies. The National Consumer Council (NCC) said anti-piracy efforts were eroding established rights to digital media. The NCC had little faith that industry self-regulation would adequately protect consumers' rights. It made its comments to a parliamentary inquiry into technologies that limit what people can do with CDs, DVDs and downloaded media.
(Times) Stephen Carter talks about the prickly issues he faces now that the BT quesiton has been resolved. Surveying his ?to do? box, it is hardly surprising Carter wants to close the lid on the telecoms review. The switch over from analogue to digital television, a review of advertising and an upcoming auction of new third-generation licences ? with all the potential frictions ? are just some of the issues he and his team must address. One prickly issue already firmly on the agenda is that of Europe wanting to begin to regulate the internet ? monitoring issues such as decency, accuracy and impartiality.
(EDRI-gram) Ms Leena Luhtanen, Minister of Transport and Communications, has announced that Finnish ISPs will implement a censorship system to curb access to foreign web pages containing child pornography. Ms Luhtanen's plan is framed as a voluntary scheme of industry self-regulation, instead of mandatory regulation. The ministry contends that this is allowable under the constitution, and points out that similar systems are already in use in Sweden and Norway.
(CommsWatch) At a seminar in Hong Kong on the theme "Regulation in a convergent environment". Richard Hooper, Deputy Chairman of Ofcom and Chairman of Ofcom's Content Board made a presentation entitled Content regulation in the multiplatform multichannel digital age. He provides is the nearest we have so far had to a coherent and credible alternative to Commissioner Viviane Reding's interventionist appoach and the straightforward, do nothing approach, although he understatingly calls his line "the modified do nothing strategy". He makes crucial distinctions between illegal, harmful and offensive content and, in essence, he proposes: "So the modified do nothing strategy would enforce the blocking of illegal material beyond just child abuse sites; would encourage a self-regulatory approach to material that was legal but harmful; would encourage classification/filtering systems for material that was legal but offensive; and would use the general law (as it stands, or with necessary revisions) to stop other problems such as phishing, hacking and other fraudulent uses of the technology.
(Economist) Gaming has gone from a minority activity a few years ago to mass entertainment. Games consoles are the most powerful mass-produced computers in the world and the new machines will offer unprecedented levels of performance. But it will also make depictions of violence even more lifelike, to the dismay of critics. This summer there has been a huge fuss about the inclusion of hidden sex scenes in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", a highly popular, but controversial, game in which the player assumes the role of a street gangster. Senator Hillary Clinton and a chorus of other American politicians have called for federal prosecutors to investigate the game and examine whether the industry's system of self-regulation, which applies age ratings to games, is working properly. In America, half of the population plays computer or video games. However most players are under 40, while most critics of gaming are over 40. An entire generation that began gaming as children has kept playing. The average age of American gamers is 30. Amid all the arguments about the minutiae of rating systems, the unlocking of hidden content, and the stealing of children's innocence, three important factors are generally overlooked: that attitudes to gaming are marked by a generational divide; that there is no convincing evidence that games make people violent; and that games have great potential in education. see also A study of the effects on players of violent fantasy-world game Asheron's Call 2.
(Europa) Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, will speak at a plenary session of the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg on Tuesday 14 June 2005. The meeting will focus on "Child safety and mobile phones". This issue has become important with the increased use of mobile phones by children, and the launch of 3G mobile services. The objective of the Forum is to contribute to improve the common understanding of this issue at European level. Mobile operators, content providers, industry representatives, child safety associations and public bodies will exchange on potential issues and solutions, national experience of self-regulation and discuss plans for the future, including a set of minimum requirements for a self-regulatory system for content available through mobile phones. see agenda . Online registration now available.
(HBI) Presentation of preliminary results (interim report) of the study on Co-Regulation Measures in the Media Sector of the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research, Hamburg, Germany, and the Institute of European Media Law, Saarbrücken, Germany. Study commissioned by the European Commission, Directorate General Information Society and Media, Unit A1 (Tender DG EAC 03/04). The study aims at providing a complete picture of co-regulatory measures taken to date in the media sector in all 25 Member States and in three non-EU-countries, as well as of the research already done. The study will examine how best to ensure that the development of national co- and self-regulatory models does not disturb the functioning of the single market by re-fragmenting the markets. The meeting will be held on 28 April 2005 from 10 am to 5 pm in Albert Borschette Conference Center (CCAB), Room O A (basement), Rue Froissart 36, 1040 Brussels.
(EDRI-gram) The MPA (Motion Picture Association) and the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry) are pushing for a new collaboration with internet service providers in Europe. The MPA has drafted a 'possible ISP-Film Sector Voluntary Code of Conduct', while the IFPI called for a similar code in relation to the music sector during a conference of European telecom network operators (ETNO). The industry demands that providers "remove references and links to sites or services that do not respect the copyrights of rights holders". Providers should also collectively adopt new terms and conditions, to 'require subscribers to consent in advance to the disclosure of their identity in response to a reasonable complaint of intellectual property infringement by an established right holder defence organisation or by right holder(s) whose intellectual property is being infringed,' thus overruling the essential privacy-protection of internet subscribers and without mentioning any right of reply. The debate will continue during an open WIPO seminar on ISP liability in Geneva on 18 April 2005.
(JILT) by Ida Madieha Azmi. A Content Code in Malaysia sets out guidelines, good practice procedures and standards for content disseminated to audiences by service providers in the communications and multimedia industry in Malaysia. It was drafted by the Communications and Multimedia Content Forum under sections 212 and 213 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, an industry body representing relevant sectors of the industry to ensure that the Code reflects the views of the community at large. The Code seeks to identify what is regarded as offensive and objectionable while spelling out the obligations of content providers within the context of social values in this country. The code, which is a blueprint of self regulation, is drafted purely by an industry society with no interference from the government.
(The Register) Consumers are more likely to change their operator than their mobile number to dodge the growing nuisance of text message spam. More than eight in 10 mobile phone users surveyed in a study by Switzerland's University of St.Gallen and mobile services firm bmd wireless have received unsolicited mobile messages. Four in five (83 per cent) of telecoms industry representatives polled in the survey reckon mobile spam will be a critical issue within the next two years. With complaints about mobile phone spam on the rise, both consumers and operators see mobile operator self-regulation as the most effective means of combating mobile spam. Customer-initiated actions are perceived to be less effective.
(OSCE) The Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe has published the Media Freedom Internet Cookbook (PDF 646 K). Edited by Christian Möller and Arnaud Amouroux. Results of the 2nd Amsterdam Internet Conference in August 2004. The book combines concrete recommendations - the Recipes - with background papers, grouped in six different chapters: Legislation & Jurisdiction; Self-regulation, Co-regulation, State Regulation; Hate Speech on the Internet; Education & Developing Internet Literacy; Access to Networks and to Information; Future Challenges of the Information Society.
(OSCE) On 27 and 28 August 2004, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the
Media, Mr Miklos Haraszti, organised a conference on 'freedom of the media
online' in the Amsterdam city hall. Two panels focussed on the problematic definition of harmful content and self-regulation. see 7. Conference report 'freedom of the media online' (EDRi-gram).
(OJEU) Reopening the continuous submission scheme for the Call for proposals for indirect actions under the Multiannual Community Action Plan on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies (2003 to 2004) (Safer Internet Action Plan). The call for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Union C 209 of 4 September 2003,on page 31 indicated as the final deadline for receipt of proposals under the continuous submission scheme: 15 June 2004 at 17h00. This continuous submission scheme is reopened and a new final deadline is now set for receipt of proposals: 29 October 2004 at 17h00 (Luxembourg local time). Proposals will therefore be considered until this date. The European Commission also published a call for proposals for pilot projects in the field of self-regulation
on 4 August 2004. This call has a fixed deadline of 29 October 2004.
Both calls are published at http://europa.eu.int/information_society/programmes/iap/call/index_en.htm
(Council of Europe) Information on initiatives undertaken in nineteen of the fourty-four member States of the Council of Europe, as well as Canada, in the field of regulation of illegal and harmful cyber content. (Update of item published in QuickLinks no. 235 - 20 May 2002. Changed URL). see also Summary & analyses. Synthesis of replies to a questionnaire on self-regulation and user protection against illegal or harmful content on the new communications and information services.
(dotJournalism) The control and monitoring of illegal content is more effectively controlled by industry self-regulation than by state legislation, according to new research funded by the European Commission.
Issues of self-regulation for web publishers and broadcasters have been explored in a series of reports produced by the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy (PCMLP) project at Oxford University and published on selfregulation.info.
(Daily Telegraph) A big shake-up of advertising regulation is on its way. Out goes a confused system - part of it self-regulated, the other subject to statutory control. At present, those who use print, cinema or the internet are regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) while the Independent Television Commission has a statutory role over commercial TV. Now Ofcom, the regulator, wants the policing carried out by a single watchdog, a beefed-up ASA. Its staff will leap from about 80 to 170 and its annual budget from £4.8m to £8m.
(Selfregulation.info) The IAPCODE project has published its final report (PDF 824K). The project was carried out by the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at Oxford University. It was funded by the European Commission under the Safer Internet programme. It investigated self-regulatory codes of conduct across National, EU and International boundaries covering a wide range of media from Internet, film, video (games), (digital) television to mobile communications. The project has also assisted self-regulatory bodies in the development and implementation of codes of conduct. see also Executive Summary (PDF 81K).
(RAPID) Enterprise and Information Society Commissioner Erkki Liikanen called for global cooperation against 'spam' at a two-day OECD workshop in Brussels. Building on efforts by many countries to combat 'spam', the OECD should rapidly agree a five-point framework to promote effective legislation against spam, cooperation between enforcement agencies, self-regulation by industry, technical solutions, and greater consumer awareness.
(Total Telecom) The European Commission is to attempt to set up a benchmarking scheme for content filtering technologies used in telecoms operators' networks. Richard Swetenham, head of sector for the EC Safer Internet programme, says his unit plans to fund a benchmarking study into the effectiveness of filtering technologies. Vendors and operators would be invited to enter their systems for comparative testing, in an effort to encourage cooperation across the industry. Delegates at the conference heard the first speakers say that co-regulation, or self-regulation within the law, was still the preferred scheme at the European level for regulating erotic, gaming and gambling services on mobile networks. But differences in national law and regulatory provisions have made it difficult for operators introducing new services to manage public concern about them.
(T-Mobile) The UK mobile phone operators announced a joint code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobile phones. Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone and 3, have all signed up to the code designed to facilitate the responsible use of new mobile phone services whilst safeguarding children from unsuitable content on their mobile phones. As mobile technology advances, phones are being developed with enhanced features, such as colour screens, video and picture messaging and Internet browsers, allowing access to an increasing variety of services. The vast majority of commercial content is suitable for customers of all ages. However, some of the new services may contain content of an adult nature, which is only suitable for customers who are over 18 years of age. All commercial content unsuitable for customers under 18 will be classified "18". Such content will not be made available to customers until the networks, through a process of age verification, are satisfied that he or she is at least 18. The classification framework will be in line with comparable standards in other media and will be created by a body that is independent of the mobile operators. Chat rooms made available to customers under 18 will be moderated (ie monitored to guard against inappropriate use). Parents and carers will be able to apply filters to the mobile operator?s Internet access service so that the Internet content thus accessible is restricted
(CNET News.com) by Declan McCullagh. As an employee of the Norwegian government, Elisabeth Staksrud's job title used to be official film censor. Now, the 30-year-old social scientist has an additional job description: project coordinator for the SAFT program, a government-managed Internet project funded by the European Commission. SAFT, which stands for Safety Awareness Facts and Tools, is something of an experiment in Internet self-regulation and comes as European national governments and the commission itself are weighing whether additional laws are necessary.
(Press Release) Ofcom, the new communications regulator from the end of 2003, is launching a public consultation on the future regulation of broadcast advertising. The Communications Act 2003 places a duty on Ofcom to consider effective forms of self-regulation for its various functions. Ofcom is seeking views on its proposal to delegate the regulation of advertising on television and radio to a new industry co-regulatory body. The new body would have responsibility for drawing up, reviewing and enforcing Codes, approved by Ofcom, setting standards for the presentation and content of broadcast advertisements. The new body would operate under the banner of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), currently the industry regulator for non-broadcast advertising. Ofcom would retain backstop powers over the new system. The consultation document, The Future Regulation of Broadcast Advertising and Summary. Ofcom is also publishing a linked consultation document, Criteria for transferring functions to co-regulatory bodies, proposing criteria for transferring regulatory functions to co-regulatory bodies. The closing date for responses is 9 January, 2004.
(EurActiv.com) Speaking at the World Federation of Advertisers on 28 October, Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne reminded the audience of the advances made in the area of self-regulation but stressed the need for continued efforts. Among the problem areas, Mr Byrne listed the differences in the levels of compliance with advertising codes across the Member States, as well as the difficulty in controlling certain advertising methods by code-owners. Self-regulation has been a central feature of the legislative framework set out by the Misleading Advertising Directive (1984). Self-regulation gives industry a chance to promote the application of fair advertising practices.
(Guardian) The government has rejected a call by MPs for a privacy law, branding it "unnecessary and undesirable" and insisting that self-regulation remains the best way of maintaining high standards in newspapers.
(EurActiv.com) The Parliament adopted on 8 October the interinstitutional agreement on better law-making, defining the conditions for the use of alternative regulation methods. Following the publication of its White Paper on Governance in July 2001, the Commission published in June 2002 an 'Action Plan' to simplify and improve the EU's regulatory environment. In this Communication, the Commission called upon the Council and the Parliament to conclude an interinstitutional agreement on this issue. The Parliament is especially concerned about the use of alternative regulation methods (so called 'soft law'), such as co-regulation and self-regulation. It has warned regularly against replacing the normal legislative process (in which it plays a fundamental part) with alternative regulatory methods.
(NOC) 3 - 5 November 2003, Corinthia Towers Hotel, Prague, Czech Republic. Europe's Leading Voice, Mobile & Internet Event. Juicy Profit from Premium Billable Content. The 31st running of this leading conference and exhibition continues to focus on genuinely emerging markets created through the launch of new content, billing and technology opportunities such as gambling, pictures, music, games, dating, chat, MMS, voiceXML, 3G, PARTICIPATION TV etc. see Self Regulation Workshop. Wednesday 5 Nov 14.00 - 16.00. This special European Commission organised session on self regulation models for content, especially mobile, will set out the EC?s vision of regulation for services such as 3G and beyond, with input from academics at Oxford University who are studying the best ways to make self regulation of content work.
(Italian Presidency) The 1998 Recommendation on protection of minors and human dignity supplements the regulations contained in the Television without Frontiers Directive and represents the first legal community instrument on all electronic mass media including the Internet. It seems to have played a useful role in orientating domestic legislations also for the development of domestic self-regulation, thus fostering an atmopsphere of confidence that goes to the advantage of the development of the industry of information audiovisual services. Hence it should be implemented by seeking the best forms of cooperation at the Community level aimed, for instance at harmonising the systems for classifying the various audiovisual products, leaving it up to each Member State to have competence over the evaluation of the contents. The ultimate aim is that of producing a quality television, but also that of exercising closer control on the use of the Internet that may enhance the advantages of this important modern communication instrument and may limit the risks and dangers of children using the network without control. A harmonised approach to these problems could be beneficial for the audiovisual policy of the European Union.
(FTC) On October 29, 2003, the Federal Trade Commission will host a one-day public workshop to examine issues relating to the marketing of violent entertainment to children. The workshop will provide a forum for discussing the state of self-regulation in the entertainment industry and, in particular, children?s access to products that have been rated as potentially inappropriate for them or have been labeled with a parental advisory. The workshop will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on October 29, 2003 at the FTC Conference Center located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. It is open to the public and there is no attendance fee.
(FT) UK child protection charities have called for the mandatory registration of pre-paid mobile phones amid concern that paedophiles could use untraceable mobiles to access the Web. The Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety (CHIS), a group of seven leading UK charities, wants to extend the safeguards that apply to establishing an Internet account to mobile phones. They want service providers to compile a register so that paedophiles are not able to shelter under the cloak of anonymity in accessing chatrooms or to visit illicit Web sites. see also CHIS Letter about self-regulation of new content on mobiles.
(Bangkok Post) It will be almost impossible for the Thai government to effectively block access to pornographic web sites, according to researchers from Chulalongkorn University, but it can introduce other measures such as a rating system, self-regulation and even consider legalising the porn business.
(Wired) Spooked by a new law authorizing harsh penalties for deceptive online porn publishers, adult webmasters are reconsidering a proposal for a top-level domain of their own. The plan calls for adding a new dot-xxx suffix to the Internet's root directory, to be used exclusively by adult-oriented websites. Although it is not a new idea in porn circles, backers say the proposal is beginning to generate more support as the adult entertainment industry toys with the possibility of greater self-regulation.
(FindLaw) The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will introduce a system of endorsement for high quality voluntary industry codes of conduct, ACCC Chairman, Mr Graeme Samuel, announced. 'This initiative has the potential to provide effective industry codes of conduct that deliver real benefits to businesses and consumers with the least possible compliance cost placed on either', Mr Samuel told the Australian Industry Group conference in Canberra. Such codes avoided 'heavy handed' regulation by government. Self regulation was not always effective. Co-regulation was a suitable halfway measure. 'Effective codes result in increased compliance and reduced regulatory costs', Mr Samuel said. see Press Release and full text of speech.
(Council of Europe) This declaration contains principles on: Content rules for the Internet, Self-regulation or co-regulation, Absence of prior state control, Removal of barriers to the participation of individuals in the information society, Freedom to provide services via the Internet, Limited liability of service providers for Internet content and Anonymity.
IT - Soon a self-regulation code on the internet (AGI) The Code of Self-regulation for the protection and the defence of minors from the dangers of the Internet will be presented soon. This was announced by the Communication Minister, Maurizio Gasparri, during a meeting organised by 'Telefono Azzuro' on "The child subject of rights and protagonist of choices". Thus, after the self regulation code for the television, also the text of a code for the Internet will be completed. "The work group composed by providers and association. We have been working for six months", the Minister said. However it will be very difficult to obtain the respect of the new code, as "controlling the net is, for its intrinsic characteristics, more difficult than controlling the television", Gasparri added, saying he was impressed by what the head of the Authority, Stefano Rodotà, said about a World Constitution for the Internet. "Of course what Rodotà said is a desirable but not definitive goal - Gasparri noted - what could happen is only one country does not accept it?"
UK - Government rejects call for privacy law (Guardian) The government has said it had no intention of introducing a privacy law, despite today's recommendations by a parliamentary inquiry into media intrusion. In response to a select committee's call for privacy legislation, the culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, reiterated her support for the current system of press self-regulation but conceded there was "room for improvement".
EU - Television Without Frontiers: MEPs concerned with increasing media concentration
EU - Television Without Frontiers: MEPs concerned with increasing media concentration (EurActiv.com) MEPs urged a complete overhaul of the "Television Without Frontiers" Directive. The Parliament's Culture Committee believes that the increasing concentration in the media industry throughout Europe presents a major threat to integrity and pluralism, and thus it seeks to establish EU-wide rules on ownership of television media. The Committee called on the Commission to monitor levels of media concentration in Europe and to draft an updated Green Paper on this issue by the beginning of 2004. MEPs also urged the Commission to support the establishment of a working group of national regulators and representatives of public and private broadcasting systems who would be in charge of swapping best practice on all forms of regulation, including co-regulation and self-regulation in the area of advertising and consumer protection.
EU - Protection of Childen on the Internet (EESC) Is industry responding to the challenges? Is co-regulation, as advocated by the Committee, preferable to self-regulation as advocated by the European Commission? These are two key questions that 70 participants, attending a hearing organised by the European Economic and Social Committee at its headquarters in Brussels, will be answering on 5th June between 14:30 and 17:30. The hearing, organised by the TEN (Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and Information Society) Section of the Committee will be opened by its President Mr Graf von Schwerin, followed by Mrs Ann Davison, EESC rapporteur on the subject of Internet child safety. Approximately 70 participants have been invited, including representatives of industry and major European associations that are involved in protecting children. The European Commission will also be represented.
UK - Radio 1 disc jockey wins key human rights ruling against press
UK - Radio 1 disc jockey wins key human rights ruling against press (Guardian) Sara Cox, the Radio 1 disc jockey, has won a landmark human rights case against the tabloid press for invading her privacy by publishing naked pictures of her and her husband on their honeymoon. The legal victory is bound to embarrass the press complaints commission (PCC) because it illustrates that the law can now prove more effective than self-regulation in punishing newspapers. It may inspire other celebrities who are upset by an intrusive press to launch similar actions. Toothless tiger ( Guardian) by Roy Greenslade. A cloud hangs over press self-regulation this weekend. The importance of Sara Cox's legal triumph over the Sunday People and the collapse of the Victoria Beckham kidnap trial due to the News of the World's payment to a witness illustrate the hollowness of the PCC's claim to have tamed tabloid excesses, and demonstrate its inability to deal with blatant abuses of the editors' code of practice. The Cox case alone exposes the inadequacies of a system which is predicated on the subjective vagaries of conciliation rather than the more objective methods of adjudication.
US - Advocacy groups back antispam proposal (CNET News.com) Three consumer advocacy groups said they are backing a proposed e-mail standard that aims to help consumers and Internet service providers separate legitimate e-mail from unsolicited bulk e-mail, known as spam. The groups, the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), CAUCE Canada and the SpamCon Foundation, endorsed the Trusted E-mail Open Standard (TEOS), which was proposed in April. The approach is based on the work of a privacy consultancy, ePrivacy Group, which created the Trusted Sender technology--an industry self-regulation program that tries to distinguish between legitimate e-mail and spam, and prevent marketers from setting up fraudulent e-mail accounts.
UK - Meyer outlines PCC reforms (Guardian) Sir Christopher Meyer has set out an eight-step plan to improve the press complaints commission, admitting self-regulation of newspapers had "jagged edges and imperfections".
UK - Editors back PCC code (Guardian) Self-regulation has proved to be an effective way of controlling the press and should not be replaced by legislation, the Society of Editors has argued. And it said the Commons select committee on culture, media and sport's inquiry would demonstrate that the PCC's code of conduct was effective.
2003-03-10 Singapore - Rethinking Media Policy in the Internet Age (Bertelsmann Foundation) A workshop organised by Bertelsmann Foundation and Asia Europe Foundation will take place in Singapore on 10-11 March 2003 to explore and promote greater understanding of media policy, Internet self regulation, user empowerment and media literacy. The Bertelsmann Foundation and the Asia Europe Foundation (ASEF), seek to start an Asian European dialogue to promote information sharing and offer new perspectives for both Asia and Europe in this field. Workshop Handbook and Workshop Program. events.htm
UK - TV ad industry to regulate itself (Guardian) The regulation of television advertising is likely to be relaxed this year as part of new legislation being introduced by the government. Advertisers would be allowed to police themselves under a voluntary code replacing the current statutory rules. The advertising industry has been lobbying hard for the change but the proposals will alarm consumer campaigners, who have expressed concern about the standards of TV advertising. see also UK - co-regulatory scheme for TV advertising (Guardian). The chairman of the new communications super-regulator Ofcom has confirmed that the regulation of television advertising is likely to be relaxed later this year, opening the door for other media sectors to police themselves. Lord Currie said the onus was on the advertising industry to come up with a scheme that could be overseen by Ofcom. But he stopped short of referring to self-regulation, speaking instead of a "co-regulatory" system that would give Ofcom the power to step in if necessary. see also Self-regulation and 'pester power' on television Advertising self-regulation is neither voluntary nor "softer" than statutory control.
UK - Jowell to relax rules on X-rated TV (Guardian) Broadcasters will be able to show X-rated videos at any time of the day under controversial new rules that were given government backing. The culture secretary, Tessa Jowell, has thrown her weight behind plans to exempt video on demand services from the strict rules that ban broadcasters from showing anything unsuitable for family viewing before 9 pm. The new code is particularly controversial because it will allow video on demand operators to be regulated by a self-appointed group of TV executives, rather than coming under the new communications super-regulator, Ofcom. But Ms Jowell insisted the new code of practice, which will be incorporated into the communications bill, will not lead to children watching unsuitable programmes and films before the watershed. "I am satisfied that the code represents a system that will provide adequate protection for children, and to subscribers to video on demand services. This is responsible self-regulation of the kind we want to encourage," said Ms Jowell.
UK - Government bans mobile porn (Sunday Telegraph) The Government has ordered mobile telephone operators to create systems for blocking the transmission of hardcore pornographic images to next generation or 3G mobile phones. Ministers have said they would create an official "content" regulator for the industry if this self-regulation does not work. The Home Office is concerned that the advent of picture messaging, which is becoming widely available, will encourage distribution of pornography and could pose a threat to the young and vulnerable. Mobile internet access is expected to be much more popular with so-called 2.5G and 3G services because of the speed and high-definition picture quality they provide. Many people believe porn will be a popular application and source of revenue.
News: U.S. tech protests EU privacy laws (ZDNet UK) A group of American companies is attempting to persuade the European Union to relax its rules governing data protection, claiming they are bad for business. The 10 companies, who dub themselves the Global Privacy Alliance (GPA) and whose members include IBM, Oracle and VeriSign, believe that the EU has put too much emphasis on the protection of individuals' privacy, and not enough on ensuring the free flow of information between companies. The GPA wants several significant changes to be made to EU privacy laws--the simplification of the cross-border flow of data, possibly through industry self-regulation rather than legislation; the harmonization of EU privacy regulation between member states; the relaxation of restrictions on data sharing between affiliate companies, and the exclusion of 'business contact data' from such laws.
2002-09-26 BE, Brussels - Experts to chart a way for combating online racism Organized by the Oxford Programme on Comparative Media Law and Policy, this one-day workshop on regulation and self-regulation in the area of racism, xenophobia and incitement online will be a working meeting, bringing together area experts and interested parties, to discuss the progress of hate speech control on the Internet, evaluate current successes and failures and elicit ideas for self-regulatory solutions to combat problem of hate and violent content on the Internet.
Is self-regulation a legitimate approach to protecting copyright on the internet? (spiked) This spiked-debate aims to untangle the legal, political, technical and creative problems surrounding copyright regulation in the digital age. Does regulation place too many restrictions upon new technology, or is it essential to prevent theft? Which authorities should apply copyright regulation to the internet, and how - if at all?
Be wary of Washington's spam solution (CNET News) About three dozen high-level lobbyists met quietly at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to concoct a way to drastically reduce the deluge of unsolicited e-mail. The invitation-only lunch meeting, which lasted about two hours, started a process that could result in an industry agreement on new laws or self-regulation.
UK - Press self-regulation - Witness payment laws put on hold (BBC) Ministers are giving self-regulation a last chance to stop the media making payments for stories to witnesses in court cases.
Earlier this year, the government proposed rendering it a crime to make or receive such payments, after a number of high-profile trials.
But the plans were criticised by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and newspaper editors as ill thought-out, unworkable and ineffective.
The End Of Domain Name Self-Regulation (Globe and Mail) Michael Geist argues that the ICANN was never about an experiment in global democracy but rather an experiment in self-regulation. ICANN's failure to facilitate meaningful public participation and accountability has led the return of government with the U.S., E.U., and United Nations all arguing for greater government involvement in recent weeks.
Codes of Conduct (Bertelsmann Foundation) Workshop on Internet Industry's Voluntary Self-Regulation: Codes of Conduct. June, 30th 2000, Hannover. Study of the University of Oxford, Executive Summary, Model Code and comments, Evaluative Framework for drafting a Code of Conduct, Overview of existing Codes of Conduct.
VAT: Commission welcomes Council adoption of rules for application of VAT to electronically delivered services
The European Commission has welcomed the Council's adoption of a Directive and a Regulation to modify the rules for applying value added tax (VAT) to certain services supplied by electronic means as well as subscription-based and pay-per-view radio and television broadcasting. The new rules will create a level playing field for the taxation of digital e-commerce. The new rules will apply to the supply over electronic networks (i.e. digital delivery) of software and computer services generally, plus information and cultural, artistic, sporting, scientific, educational, entertainment or similar services as well as to broadcasting services. the rules will ensure that EU suppliers will no longer be obliged to levy VAT on sales of these products on markets outside the EU. No additional obligations will be imposed on non-EU suppliers selling to business customers in the Union (i.e. business to business (B2B) sales which constitute at least 90% of the market), since the VAT will be paid by the importing company under self-assessment arrangements, as at present. The changes will however require suppliers of digital products from outside the EU for the first time to charge VAT on sales to private consumers (so-called B2C), just like EU suppliers.