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EC acts for safer Net

The European Commission adopts a proposal for an action plan to promote safe use of the Internet.

The European Commission today adopted a proposal for an action plan to promote safe use of the Internet.

The plan identifies the main areas where the commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), believes concrete measures are needed and could be supported by the EU, according to a press statement released today.

As part of the plan, a European network of centers, or hot lines, will be set up to allow users to report content that they come across while using the Internet that they consider to be illegal.

The plan goes on to state that self-regulation and content-monitoring schemes should be developed by access providers, content providers, and network operators. Internationally compatible and interoperable rating and filtering schemes should be used to protect users, especially children, against "undesirable" content.

Covering the years 1998 to 2001, the plan will also establish measures to increase awareness of the possibilities available to help parents, teachers, children, and other consumers to choose appropriate content and to exercise a reasonable amount of parental control while using the networks.

The proposal comes a week after the commission suggested guidelines for codes of conduct aimed at protecting children from harmful material on the Internet or other online networks.

The codes would be drawn up by the service providers themselves in each of the 15 EU countries, reflecting the commission's preference for self-regulation in the sensitive area of Internet content.