Watchdog calls for web policing debate

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Lord Currie, chairman of the media regulator Ofcom, is leading calls for a debate on how the internet should be regulated. In a speech last week, he told an industry body that the current system of self-regulation "may not always be the answer".

Lord Currie, chairman of the media regulator Ofcom, is leading calls for a debate on how the internet should be regulated. In a speech last week, he told an industry body that the current system of self-regulation "may not always be the answer".

Speaking to the Internet Service Providers' Association, Lord Currie stressed he was not seeking a new regulatory role for Ofcom. The internet is not part of the watchdog's remit. However, his remarks will fuel speculation that the Government could appoint a formal body to oversee the internet.

Lord Currie said the need to address the issue of internet regulation had been strengthened by the rapid increase in television broadcasting via broadband internet. Homechoice, which offers a video-on-demand service, launched a major marketing drive last summer. BT is developing a similar service.

"There will be a balance to strike between protecting consumers from the additional risks of the online world and not underestimating their ability to understand and assess these risks for themselves," he said.

Regulation could be needed to stop children watching harmful content, said Lord Currie, and also to ensure copyright rules were not infringed.

Internet companies say that computer users have greater control over what they watch than television viewers. They can, for example, install security chips preventing children from viewing unsuitable content.

A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers' Association said: "Any regulation should be applied to content providers, not the ISPs."

Comments