The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte TD, today announced the formation of an Internet Content Governance Advisory Group. This specialist working group, consisting of experts in the fields of child safety and online behaviour as well as technical and industry experts, will consider the emerging issues in the area of online content and its general impact on the lives of children and young people.
This Advisory Group will take submissions from the public and interested groups, and will produce a report for the Minister by the end of May 2014. The group will cover a number of issues arising for society, and in particular for children and young people, from the dramatic growth in internet use over the last decade, and particularly since the advent of affordable internet connected mobile devices. Specifically, it will deal with bullying and harassment online and issues around age inappropriate viewing of content. Minister Rabbitte said he very much looked forward to the advice of the Group. He stressed that “Fundamental to their work is the question of striking an appropriate balance in policy terms that ensures the protection of children and young people but does not limit their opportunities and rights online”.
The Advisory Group, which will be chaired by Dr Brian O’Neill of the Dublin Institute of Technology, will have regard to international best practice, including recent European Commission Reports and Council Conclusions in this area, and will also be asked to comment specifically on the recent report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee titled ‘Addressing the Growth of Social Media and tackling Cyberbullying’. The Group will be asked to produce specific recommendations on the appropriateness of existing regulatory and legislative frameworks around electronic communications, internet governance and the sharing of material online and as to the most appropriate relationship should be between ISPs, online service providers, the State and citizens in relation to access to legal material and bullying and harassment online.
Chair – Dr Brian O'Neill
Dr Brian O’Neill is Head of the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology. His areas of research include media literacy, policymaking and public interest issues in media and communications related to children and youth. He leads the policy work package for EU Kids Online (EC Safer Internet Programme) and is also a member of Ireland's Internet Safety Advisory Council.
Mary Aiken is a CyberPsychologist and Director of the CyberPsychology Research Centre at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Research Fellow at the RCSI Institute of Leadership. Mary is also a Network Science Fellow at the US Network Science Research Centre, a collaboration among scholars and researchers from IBM, MIT, Harvard University, Brown University and Columbia University. Mary’s areas of research include youth behaviour online, cyber crime and the impact of emerging technology on human behaviour. Mary is an observer to the INTERPOL Specialists Group on crimes against children.
Prof Joe Carthy
Professor Carthy is College Principal and Dean of Science at UCD, Director of the UCD Centre for Cyber security and Cybercrime Investigation (CCI). He holds a BSC and PhD in Computer Science from UCD.
Áine Lynch is the CEO of the National Parents Council (primary). Áine is a registered paediatric nurse and holds a BSc (Hons) in Behavioural Science, a diploma in Management, as well as a postgraduate diploma in Child Protection and Welfare. She has served as a nurse in both paediatrics and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Áine was manager of Childline, as well as Director of Services for the ISPCC.
Kate O’Sullivan (UPC)
Kate O’Sullivan is Vice President Corporate Affairs at UPC Ireland where she is responsible for regulatory and public policy. She holds a BA from UCC and a MBA from Warwick University.
Ronan Lupton is a practicing Barrister, specialising in the areas of commercial law, Chancery, defamation, intellectual property / copyright and competition law. Prior to practice he spent 12 years in various regulatory and engineering roles in the Internet and communications markets, including as Head of Legal and Regulatory Affairs for Verizon Business in Ireland. He is Chair of ALTO and the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland and is a member of the Department of Justice Internet Safety Advisory Council; the Irish IPv6 Task Force; and the Irish ENUM Policy Advisory Board. He holds a BA (Management), M.Sc. (Strategic Management), Dip Legal Studies and the degree of Barrister-at-Law (King’s Inns).
Draft Terms of Reference (To be finalised at the first meeting of the Advisory Group)
Having regard in particular to:
- The development of the internet as a platform for media consumption and creation on a pervasive and persistent basis, and in particular the rise of social media;
- The profound benefits that the internet offers to society as a whole, and to children and young people in particular;
- Incidences of bullying and harassment online, particularly with regard to children.
- The present national legislative framework around electronic communications, internet governance and the sharing of material online;
- Recent proposals in other jurisdictions to request that ISPs block access to certain legal material ‘by default’;
- The need to preserve the free and open nature of the internet, and to preserve freedom of speech and freedom of access to information online;
- The recent report of the Joint Oireachtas Ctte titled ‘Addressing the Growth of Social Media and tackling Cyberbullying’;
- Recent decisions taken at the ECHR on the issue of online commentary.
The Taskforce is requested to consider the following and make recommendations to the Minister by 30th May 2014:
- Whether the existing national regulatory and legislative frameworks around electronic communications, internet governance and the sharing of material online remain relevant;
- Whether other existing policy responses by the State remain sufficient in relation to dealing with any of these issues;
- What the most appropriate relationship should be between ISPs, online service providers, the State and citizens in relation to access to legal material and bullying and harassment online.