Safer Internet Programme 2005-2008 (Safer Internet Plus)
Internet penetration is still growing considerably in the countries of the European Union (EU). Alongside this, potentially dangerous - especially for children - and illegal content is continuing to develop. The Safer Internet Plus programme has been adopted to promote safer use of the Internet and to protect the end-user against unwanted content.
Decision No 854/2005/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2005 establishing a multiannual Community Programme on promoting safer use of the Internet and new online technologies.
The Safer Internet Plus programme (2005-08) builds on the aim of its predecessor, the Safer Internet Action Plan (1999-2004), which was to foster the Internet-related industry while supporting safer use of the Internet and combating illegal and harmful content.
The new programme has been broadened in scope to include the new media (e.g. videos) and is explicitly designed to combat racism and also content unwanted by the end user ("spam"). It will focus more closely on end-users: parents, educators and children.
LINES OF ACTION
The activities undertaken under the programme are divided up into four lines of action.
Fighting against illegal content
Hotlines have been set up to allow members of the public to report illegal content. They pass the reports on to the appropriate body (an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or the police, for example) for action. The Safer Internet Action Plan (1999-2004) expanded the hotline network and gave it an international reach. In order for the hotlines to develop their full potential, however, it is necessary to ensure Europe-wide coverage and cooperation and to increase their effectiveness through exchange of information, best practice and experience.
The new programme is thus geared towards the following activities:
- funding hotlines, so that they can act at national level and cooperate with other centres in the European network of hotlines;
- supporting telephone helplines for children confronted with illegal and harmful content;
- collection of qualitative and quantitative data on the establishment and operation of hotlines;
- launching incentive measures to speed up the process of setting up hotlines, and developing codes of conduct;
- setting up a coordination centre for the network to raise its visibility at European level, improve its operational effectiveness and promote exchanges of information and experience.
Tackling unwanted and harmful content
The programme provides funding for technological measures which enable users to limit the amount of unwanted and harmful content, and manage the spam they receive. This heading includes:
- assessing the effectiveness of available filtering technology;
- facilitating and coordinating exchanges of information and best practices;
- increasing take-up of content rating and quality-site labels;
- if necessary, contributing to the accessibility of filter technology, notably in languages not adequately covered by the market.
Use of technology to enhance privacy will be encouraged.
Promoting a safer environment
A fully functioning system of self-regulation is an essential element in limiting the flow of unwanted, harmful and illegal content. Self-regulation involves a number of components: consultation and appropriate representation of the parties concerned, codes of conduct, national bodies facilitating cooperation at Community level, and national evaluation of self-regulation frameworks.
To improve self-regulation in the sector, the Commission is providing national co-regulatory or self-regulatory bodies with the Safer Internet Forum as a platform for exchanging experience. The Forum was set up in 2004 under the Safer Internet Action Plan.
Its objectives are as follows:
- to stimulate networking of the appropriate structures within Member States and developing links with self-regulatory bodies outside Europe;
- to stimulate self-regulation on issues such as quality rating of websites, cross-media content rating, rating and filtering techniques, extending them to new forms of content such as online games and new forms of access such as mobile phones;
- to encourage service providers to draw up codes of conduct;
- to promote research into the effectiveness of rating projects and filtering technologies.
These measures are aimed at the various categories of unlawful, unwanted and harmful content. They take account of related questions such as consumer protection, data protection and information and network security (viruses, spam, etc.).
The programme provides support to appropriate bodies, selected following an open call for proposals to act as awareness-raising centres in each Member State and candidate country. European added value will be provided by a coordination centre, which will ensure that best practice is exchanged. The programme will concentrate on this aspect in particular.
Participation in the programme is open to legal entities established in the Member States. It is also open to legal entities established in the candidate countries in accordance with bilateral agreements in existence or to be concluded with those countries.
Participation may be opened to legal entities established in EFTA States which are contracting parties to the EEA Agreement. It may also be opened, without financial support by the Community under the programme, to legal entities established in third countries and to international organisations, where such participation contributes effectively to the implementation of the programme.
A budget of EUR 45 million has been allocated to the programme for the period 2005-08, of which EUR 20 million is for 2005 and 2006. Nearly half the budget will be for awareness-raising measures.
The Commission is responsible for implementing the programme. The programme operates on the basis of calls for proposals published in the Official Journal of the European Union and on the Information Society portal of the European Commission’s website. The Commission evaluates projects proposed following calls for proposals with a view to Community financing.
LINKAGE WITH OTHER COMMUNITY PROGRAMMES
In implementing the programme, the Commission will ensure that it is generally consistent with and complementary to the other Community policies, programmes and actions, in particular the Community research and technological development programmes and the Daphné II, Modinis and eContentplus programmes.
|Act||Entry into force||Deadline for transposition in the Member States||Official Journal|
Decision No 854/2005/EC [adoption: codecision COD 2004/0023]
OJ C 017 of 11.6.2005
Additional information available on the European Commission’s Information Societywebsite.