Saturday, February 10, 2007

Self regulatory week

It looked like self-regulation week. At the occasion of Europe’s Safer Internet Day the European Commission published the report Study on co-regulation measures in the media sector. 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. "For the media and Internet industry to flourish responsibly, the regulatory framework needs to strike the right balance between fairness and firmness while still allowing industry to respond quickly to change," said Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding at the occasion of the presentation of the study on co-regulation in the media sector today in Brussels. "This study underlines my firm belief that self-and co-regulation offer very real alternatives to traditional legislative approaches in the media sector today. Where such self- and co-regulatory models are credible and efficient, the European Commission will encourage their use, in particular for the online environment."

In The Netherlands KPN announced measures regulating e-mail traffic. The company basically copied the rules its subsidiary XS4ALL has developed over the years for all their subsidiaries, including KPN/Het Net, Freeler and Planet Internet; besides KPN makes it impossible for their clients to run an autonomous e-mail server. In the same week, following the example of their Norwegian sister company, UPC The Netherlands announced that it was going to filter child porn sites centrally, using a list of 3000 suspected sites using dynamic internet addresses, composed by the Dutch national police.

These measures triggered a reaction from the Dutch chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC). The organisation recognised that the objectives of KPN and UPC are to be applauded, but the organisation thinks that it is no more than the fight against symptoms. This will mean, according to the press release that in the future we will have measures, to which people will be subjected to involuntarily. ISPs should keep their hands off content information streams.

During a debate on internet filtering the ISOC director, Michael Leenaars, gave an example of the problems. Per IP-number some 100 websites can be reached. If one of them contains child porno all the other 99 innocent websites can not be reached any longer. Besides when an IP-number has been blocked the ISP will also be blocked; but who is going to redeem him and get him off the list? And of course, it is pre-supposed that child porn is on websites, while most of the users of child porn work via p2p networks. The ISOC director pleads for an open internet. If someone is spotted doing forbidden things, such a person should be brought to court. Otherwise internet will be crippled by self regulatory measures of the ISPs. In Norway and Sweden, an internet user is offered a child porn filter, which he/she can install, if he/she wishes to do so.

Blog Posting Number: 660

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