TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: EU Wants to Make Internet Safe for Children

EU Wants to Make Internet Safe for Children

Lisa Minter (
Thu, 9 Dec 2004 22:13:24 EST

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union has launched a 45 million euro
($60 million) plan to protect children from pornography and racist
sites when they surf the Internet.

"Children are using the Internet more and more and can come across
dangerous content. It's essential to inform parents what tools they
can use," Viviane Reding, the European Information Society and Media
Commissioner, told a news conference.

Around 60 percent of children regularly surf the Internet in
Scandinavia and countries such as Britain, the Netherlands, Estonia
and the Czech Republic, data issued by the European Commission on
Thursday showed.

But most parents are not aware of the potential risks or do not know
who to contact when they come across harmful content, Reding said.

The four-year EU program follows up a 38 million euro project that led
to the creation of "hotlines" where parents could report illegal
content found on the Internet.

It will increase the number of hotlines, finance technology to filter
out pornography and raise awareness among parents and children, though
it was not clear if the funds will be distributed to member states or
used at the European level.

As an example of the project's value, Reding said existing hotlines,
active in 18 EU states and Iceland, had helped the police to crack
down on pedophile networks.

"Last month a tip from the hotline in Spain led to the arrest of 90
people, the largest operation against a pedophile network in the
country," she said. ($1=.7528 Euro)

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