The European Commission has worked with mobile handset manufacturers, operating system providers, internet service providers, broadcasters, social networks and mobile operators to form a new coalition that aims to make the internet better and safer for children. Founding members of the ‘Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids’ are Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, France Telecom-Orange, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Research in Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Sulake, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi and Vodafone.
Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President, said “This new Coalition should provide both children and parents with transparent and consistent protection tools to make the most of the online world. The founding Coalition members are already leaders in children’s safety online. Working together we will be setting the pace for the whole industry and have a great basis for fully empowering children online.”
The founders have agreed to take action in five areas:
Simple and robust reporting tools: easy-to-find and recognisable features on all devices to enable effective reporting and responses to content and contacts that seem harmful to kids;
Age-appropriate privacy settings: settings which take account of the needs of different age groups (such settings determine how widely available a user's information is; for example whether contact details or photos are available only to close contacts rather than to the general public);
Wider use of content classification: to develop a generally valid approach to age-rating, which could be used across sectors and provide parents with understandable age categories;
Wider availability and use of parental control: user-friendly tools actively promoted to achieve the widest possible take-up;
Effective takedown of child abuse material: to improve cooperation with law enforcement and hotlines, to take proactive steps to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.
The Coalition was formed following a speech in October by Neelie Kroes at the Safer Internet Forum in Luxembourg. It will review its work in the summer of 2012.
[Statement of purpose of the coalition (pdf); Neelie Kroes blog; EC Safer Internet Programme]