[This version is provided by http://www.cyber-rights.org]
Home Office - News Release - 19 July, 2001
50 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AT
(night line: 020 7273 4595) Fax: 020 7273 4660
Public Enquiry Line: 020 7273 4000
177/2001 19 July 2001 020 7273 4545
The Task Force also submitted proposals
· a central "clearing house," of police, child protection and Internet experts that would provide co-ordinated and effective responses to concerns from the public and industry involved in providing Internet services in the UK about online child protection, whether seeking advice or reporting suspicions or crimes;
· initial scoping for a public awareness campaign to deliver clear and consistent safety messages so that Internet users can enjoy the massive benefits of the Internet in safety.
Beverley Hughes, Home Office Minister and Task Force Chair said:
The Task Force will continue to develop
their initial proposals over the summer, reporting further progress to the
Chair, Beverley Hughes, in the autumn. Further work, including the possible
development of basic standards and the structure of co-regulation for the
industry involved in providing Internet services in the UK, will also commence
in the autumn. A further progress report will be made to the Home Secretary
early in 2002.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. The Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet is a positive partnership of representatives from Internet service and communication providers; PC and software retailers and manufacturers; child welfare organisations; the main opposition parties; law enforcement agencies and academics; and began work in May 2001.
2. Legislation to tackle paedophile "grooming" activity:
While children are protected from most paedophile activity by current legislation, the Task Force is addressing the very real concern over how to safeguard children from predatory behaviour before the commission of a substantive sex offence. If agreed in principle, the proposals will need further development and close scrutiny including in respect of European Convention on Human Rights compatibility.
Both the criminal offence and civil order would apply to adults aged 18 or over, targeting predatory behaviour aimed at luring children into sexual activity under the age of consent, without criminalising the quite harmless world of imagination and fantasy which the Internet offers. The new provisions would apply offline as well as online - if conduct is wrong, it is wrong wherever it is committed.
3. Internet chat safety measures for providers:
The Task Force proposes a model of chat safety measures for all providers of Internet chat services to apply, drawing on current best practice found across the industry providing Internet services in the UK.
The model would include clear, prominent and accessible safety messages to be present on chat services such as:
· clear links to safety sites or warning pages, which will include information for parents/carers and children;
· advice on handling abusive chatters;
The model would also include clear, prominent and accessible safety tools such as:
· 'ignore' or 'alert' buttons, and 'grab and print' functions to enable users to retain evidence of abusive chat;
· easy availability of filtering mechanisms for users, picking up obscene language, e-mail formats, etc.
· and the ability at user end to block private chat/instant messaging;
And in moderated chat rooms specifically aimed at children:
· an alert system in the form of a panic/help button at the top of each chat room page;
· properly recruited, screened, trained and supervised chat moderators to monitor chat and prevent abusive conversations;
· a system of reporting incidents through approved escalation mechanism.