Examination of Witnesses (Questions 920
TUESDAY 17 APRIL 2007
Q920 Baroness Sharp of Guildford:
Can I follow that up? You may know that in the UK the Internet
Mr Klabunde: I believe there is a problem with
the connection, we cannot hear you.
Q921 Baroness Sharp of Guildford:
I wanted to follow up my question by saying that in the UK the
Internet Watch Foundation has been very successful in closing
down a number of child abuse sites. Nevertheless, we only learnt
today that there has been a very substantial increase in the amount
of child pornography being carried through the Internet. You have
indicated that there are quite a number of initiatives now to
get co-operation going on between Member States. Is there something
equivalent to the Internet Watch Foundation being established
at a European level?
Ms Traung: Yes, it is. Actually the Internet
Watch Foundation is one of the projects funded by the Safer Internet
programme50% of the funding comes from the EU.
Q922 Baroness Sharp of Guildford:
Ms Traung: The Safer Internet programme gives
financial support to a network of hotlines and Internet Watch
Foundation is one of its members. There are members in around
23 other European countries, and the purpose of these hotlines
is to decrease at the number of child abuse images and others
illegal content on the Internet. This means that there are actions
ongoing in almost all European countries.
Ms Yudina: It is 24 countries.
Q923 Baroness Sharp of Guildford:
That sounds good. Can I put one final question to youand
this really goes back to some of the issues we were talking about
right at the very beginninghow far does the European Union
see itself as having a role in educating either children or the
general public about Internet security?
Ms Yudina: Our programme has four main emphases
and one of them is awareness raising among children and parents.
Our programme supports the INSAFE awareness network that is working
with schools, parents and children to teach them about the risks
that can be faced on the Internet.
Chairman: Lord Harris who has joined us would
like to ask a question too.
Q924 Lord Harris of Haringey:
It is a very general question which you might all want to answer
but it in the areas in which this Committee is interested, in
terms of personal Internet security and the questions about safety
on line in particular for children and other vulnerable groups,
are there areas where you feel as officials that you are frustrated
because you do not have the power of a mandate to take action?
If you had the relevant powers of mandate what would those actions
Ms Traung: For the Safer Internet programme
we have a mandate to do what we want to do and this is mainly
to promote awareness raising and to co-fund the network of hotlines
, allowing the public to report illegal content they come across
on the Internet.
Ms Yudina: The question is what else we could
do. Now our programme has launched an online public consultation
to find new areas where we can contribute in the sphere of child
Q925 Lord Harris of Haringey:
And in terms of spam and the other issues that the Committee has
Ms Yudina: Spam is not for our programme.
Q926 Lord Harris of Haringey:
I am talking to the other officials, whether they feel frustrated
about the limits to their mandate or to the powers that they have.
Mr Schik: The short answer is no, no frustration
but what there is stilland it is also what we address in
the communicationthat Member States already provide a lot
in terms of legal possibilities to fight spam, spyware and malicious
software. But on the enforcement side of things the political
commitment is not being put through at every instance into practical
enforcement activities and that is something we still hope will
improve but it is not taking up the speed we might want it to
Q927 Lord Harris of Haringey:
If I could just press you on that, is there a lack of commitment
from the UK government or is it from other areas?
Mr Schik: I am not in a position to comment
specifically on the UK government, so I will not!
Q928 Lord Harris of Haringey:
Mr Schik: At the same time we identify the level
of critical success factorsand I talked about that earlier.
Commitment, who is responsible, what type of resources are dedicated
to fighting these practices, what type of fines are imposed, how
are spammers or other criminal types deterred from taking up these
activities. Those are indicators that one should look at when
assessing Member State policy. I can give you an example which
is also described in the communication. For example if you take
the Netherlands, a couple of years ago they had a strong commitment
by the government to take up the fight against spam and they dedicated
a team of five to engage in this fight and they invested 300,000
in equipment and material to undertake this and it decreased Dutch
spam in two years or so by 85%, which is quite a considerable
achievement, and that same team is now also working in other areas
such as spyware and malware, building on the experience they have
gained. So without commenting on other Member States this is an
example of how it could work.
Q929 Lord Harris of Haringey:
But the Dutch example you have given, was the 85% reduction in
terms of spam emanating from there or was it an 85% reduction
in the spam experienced by users in the Netherlands?
Mr Schik: No, it was Dutch spam because they
focused on spam being sent from the Netherlands, being facilitated
from machines based in the Netherlands.
Q930 Lord Harris of Haringey:
That is helpful.
Mr Schik: Maybe to give you another example,
in Finland they also put quite a lot of effort into securing their
networks and to try to clamp up the amount of spam being transferred
through the Net and they also achieved considerable success in
that. The communication also refers to Finland.
That has brought us to the end of our questions. It has been very
useful indeed for us to be able to speak to you and to get your
views. We have access of course to the Commission documents on
the website but if there is anything else that you feel would
be of interest and importance to us in our inquiry we would very
much appreciate it if you would send it to us or direct us to
where we can find it. Let me thank you all very much for answering
our questions; it will be useful and we will make sure you receive
a copy of our report when it is published.
Mr Holla: Thank you very much for giving us
an opportunity to tell you something about our daily work.