Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 160-163)


4 MARCH 2008

  Q160  Chairman: But it is not just a question of putting it up on a website and hoping somebody is going to come and look at it: you do actually need to do a bit more to promote it.

  Ms Kramer: Yes and we do that where we can.

  Q161  Mr Sanders: Would it be possible at the point of the bill to produce with the bill each month the websites that were visited by the child? I am sure in most cases, if it is the parent that is paying the bill, that the parent could then see at the end of the month which websites had been visited.

  Ms Church: On the PC, yes, is the answer to that one. If you have the parental controls installed then you can see what sites any particular account has accessed.

  Q162  Mr Sanders: But you cannot do it through the mobile.

  Ms Church: I am not aware of it on the mobile.

  Mr MacLeod: Within the device there is a history thing, but the vast majority of mobile customers of course are on the pre-pay tariffs and they do not tend to get bills.

  Q163  Philip Davies: The Chairman asked earlier if you were working together or doing your own thing and you said a bit of both and most people will probably say that you should do more of this, working together on this kind of thing. Can I argue the exact opposite of that? Can I argue that you do not work together on these things in the sense that you should be in competition with each other; you should not be working with each other. Working together on these things will mean that you will go at the pace of the slowest and that you will all be quite comfortable with that because nobody will be doing anything more than you are doing. Can I urge you not to work together and actually compete with each other? That will drive up standards a lot faster by competing with each other than it will by some sort of cosy relationship where "We will not do this, if you do not do that", which will actually hold things back.

  Mr Bartholomew: That is probably why we said we are doing a bit of both because there are certain things that we do collaborate on, they do take time, they are worth doing, but we are seeing choices and decisions by different companies to approach the issue in different ways. Believe me, we can compete vigorously on the high street for each other's customers but we try to set aside some of those differences in this area because it is such an important area of public interest. Ultimately we will do our own thing where it is right for our own individual base of customers.

  Mr MacLeod: It is a fair point you make, but there are certainly disadvantages to everybody just doing it themselves. For one thing, we could not have established the Independent Mobile Classification Body unless there had been some sort of pan-industry agreement to do something like that. The other thing is that the more you multiply the messages and make them subtly different, the risk is that the consumer just gets more and more confused. If we can have simple, clear messages and not too many of them hammering through loud and clear, that does serve the consumer a lot better and the European Schools Net thing is a pan-European initiative because this is obviously not just a problem that manifests itself in the UK.

  Chairman: We have no more questions. Thank you.

previous page contents

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2008
Prepared 31 July 2008