European Parliament adopts Safer Internet programme

By EDRi · December 2, 2004

On Thursday 2 December, the European Parliament adopted the report from the Dutch PSE rapporteur Edith Mastenbroek on the goals and funding of the Safer Internet Plus Programme. Parliament has decided to dedicate 45 million Euro to the program, of which 20,05 million are to be spent in the first 2 years, 2005 and 2006. Since the amendments were already agreed with the Commission and the Council, the report is adopted at first reading and will enter into force on 1 January 2005.

The programme is divided into four action lines and the budget is divided along these lines:

1.  Fighting against illegal content (25-30% of the budget) by the means of hotlines. To ensure that the Programme is effective, hotlines are required in all Member States and candidate countries. Currently, hotlines exist in 13 of the 25 Member States.
2.  Tackling unwanted and harmful content (10-17%)
3.  Promoting a safer environment (8-12%): the Safer Internet Forum is to provide codes of conduct.
4.  Awareness-raising (47-51%) measures.

Parliament has agreed to considerably diminish funding for the second action line, in order to dedicate a much larger budget to awareness-raising. The report has a strong focus on privacy principles, and doesn’t want to make funding available to create filter tools, but use the funding to investigate the performance and transparency of filter technologies. Adding to the transparency of the hotline system, the report demands that “the number and kind of web-pages withdrawn by internet service providers as a result of information provided by the hotlines should be made public if possible.” Also, internet providers are encouraged to handle Notice and Take Down requests in a transparent and conscientious matter.

Finally, the report adds an important dimension to the debate about harmful content. “It would be desirable to try to take account of the possible effect of new technologies, on their safe use by children when they are being developed, instead of trying to deal with any consequences of the new technologies after they have been devised. (…) However, it should be taken into account that not every product developed for the online world is intended for use by children.”

EP report on Safer Internet Plus Programme 2005-2008 (18.11.2004)