An EU firewall won't protect kids, says top legislator

Education and parental responsibility are the answers, according to Neelie Kroes

The European Union's top legislator on digital issues has said that education and awareness are the best way to protect children online, dealing a blow to plans for a so-called European Union firewall.

"We cannot, and should not, put our children and youngsters in a digital glass cage, hoping they will never encounter any harmful or illegal content online. This will simply not work," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The Commissioner's comments fly in the face of the Council of the European Union's plans to create a "virtual Schengen border" (the so-called Schengen area is the common passport area within the E.U.) with ISPs required to block "illicit content" from outside the area.

Much of the justification for this plan, which was discussed at a Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP) meeting in February, is centered around blocking child porn sites and protecting children. But in a very common-sense approach Kroes said: "Prevention, protection, prosecution must be strengthened at the European and international level. But we must also remember that building safety also means building trust: trust in our children and youngsters that they have the intelligence, capacity and maturity to use these wonderful instruments in a positive and empowering way."

Later this year the Commission will begin work on an initiative and the Commissioner said that parental control tools and age-rating systems could play a part in this. "This will not be a top-down approach, but a collective effort to make the Internet and the digital world a safer place; to make sure that our children get all the protection, help and support they need," she said.

Kroes' comments show that she understands the Internet and offers great hope for the creation of effective, pragmatic child-friendly policies in the future, said Joe McNamee, advocacy coordinator for European digital rights group EDRi

"We simply cannot develop effective policy as long as we listen to snake-oil salesmen that are selling us an unachievable totally secure, 'civilized' Internet. Even if it were achievable, such 'security' would destroy the value of the Internet for fundamental rights, innovation, society and the economy," McNamee added.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securityinternetfirewallsonline safetyeuropean commission

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?