Rapporteur EU parliament: more liability for ISPs

By EDRi · April 6, 2005

Rapporteur Marielle De Sarnez (French, Liberal) of the European Parliament
Committee on Culture and Education has released her opinion on the
proposal of the European Commission to create a new Recommendation on the
Protection of Minors and Human Dignity. The report deals with two issues;
more liability for ISPs and the introduction of a legal right to reply.

According to De Sarnez “(…)businesses cannot escape their
responsibilities under the pretext that parental control is needed to be
exercised and governments have a duty to introduce rules that will protect
the weakest members of society.” That’s why ‘the liability of access
providers needs to be established.’ All access providers must create an
effective and easy-to-use filter system for children. “Efficient filter
technologies exist for the Internet and mobile phones. They are expensive
but can be used by the operators present in the market. All that is needed
is the political and economic will to distribute them.”

Besides, all site providers, producers or distributors must ‘describe
proposed content/sites with an update every six months to make it easier
to classify sites using abbreviations common to all Member States.’
Apparently, De Sarnez is thinking of introducing a total ban on internet
publications, unless the proposed content has been classified in advance.
Hard to understand is also the call on governments to oblige ‘creators and
producers to post warning banners on all search engines drawing attention
to possible dangers.’ Warning! triple x content available !

Finally, De Sarnez wants to introduce “a European toll-free number
providing information on existing filter methods intended to offset the
absence in some Member States of telephone hotlines”. These hotlines could
have their powers extended “to include the authority to report harmful
sites which, even if it relies on subjective judgements, would make it
possible to identify such sites so that legal proceedings against the
authors could be brought in the future.”

On the second issue, the right of reply, the rapporteur wants all EU
governments to rapidly introduce a right of reply “to protect any legal or
natural person from any information presenting inaccurate facts concerning
that person and affecting his or her rights.” Following the Recommendation
from the Council of Europe on the Right of Reply (15.12.2004) quite
literally, De Sarnez wants the right of reply to apply to any medium,
defined as ‘any means of communication for the periodic dissemination to
the public of edited information, whether on-line or off-line, such as
newspapers, periodicals, radio, television and web-based news services.”
The reply should get the same prominence as the contested information.

Draft report De Sarnez (14.03.2005)

Proposal Commission: Recommendation on the Protection of Minors and Human Dignity

REC 2004 – 16 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (15.12.2004)

EDRI-gram: Council of Europe insists on right of reply (29.12.2005)