The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D. today launched the 6th Annual Report of the Irish Internet Hotline which investigates child pornography content on the web.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister welcomed that for the ninth year running, Ireland has again had no material reported that was assessed to be child pornography. The Minister said: "There has been no material reported to either the Irish Hotline or any international hotline being found as originating from or being hosted in Ireland on ISPAI members’ facilities."
The Minister highlighted the success of a recent joint Hotline.ie/ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) operation, sparked by a report to the Hotline by a member of the Irish public that led to the disablement of a network of sites that provided access to child sexual abuse material. The Minister said: "The 2008 Hotline report indicates that internet users are encountering illegal content less than in previous years. But I would encourage the public to continue using the service to help tackle the shame and horror of child pornography on the Internet."
Minister Ahern said: "It is vital that the public continues to report illegal content to the Hotline. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. We are the eyes and ears of child safety both domestically and internationally and every report will be investigated."
"I am grateful to those who work at the Hotline and the members of the Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland (ISPAI) who support the service and are signed up to the Industry’s Code of Ethics and Practice."
"The fact is that 92% of the sites confirmed to be illegal by hotline content analysts during 2008 are now no longer in existence or no longer contain illegal material. I cannot over emphasise that the co-operation of the internet service providers is an essential part of the concept of an effective Hotline."
The Minister made clear that the success of the hotline.ie service and successful operations like the Hotline/ACMA operation deserved the support of all ISPs.
24 June 2009
Note for Editors
Child Pornography Hotline (www.hotline.ie)
· www.hotline.ie service was launched in November, 1999. The hotline provides a central point of contact for members of the public who become aware of any child pornography on the Internet in Ireland. The hotline accepts reports about such material and attempts to identify the source. If the material is hosted in Ireland, it will request the relevant ISP to remove it, in accordance with the Code of Practice and Ethics. The hotline liaises with the Gardaí as appropriate.
· To provide a fast response to illegal material that is hosted outside the Irish jurisdiction, the Hotline is a member of INHOPE, the international organisation of Internet Hotlines. The INHOPE organisation applies rigorous standards to which its members must adhere. These are provided in the INHOPE Code of Practice to which the Hotline has signed up
· The Internet Service Providers Association of Ireland funds the operating costs of the hotline. In 2008, the Hotline received funding for up to 50% of its eligible operating costs from the EU Safer Internet Plus Programme.
· The Australian Communications and Media Authority runs the Internet Hotline for Australia. ACMA investigates complaints about online content and can take action in relation to offensive and illegal online content (known as ‘prohibited content’). Further information about ACMA’s responsibilities for online content is available at the ACMA website at http://www.acma.gov.au/hotline.