Implications of the Emerging Mobile Internet for the Protection of Minors in the UK Presentation to the Safer Internet For...
Background <ul><li>Launch of 3G across Europe  </li></ul><ul><li>Growing media profile of child protection issues </li></u...
Changing Technology <ul><li>Mobile Internet around since 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>2.5G (GPRS) offered much faster connectiv...
The Internet: Mobiles vs PCs <ul><li>Essentially the same risks as posed by Internet access via PCs but: </li></ul><ul><li...
What are the risks to children? <ul><li>Inappropriate or harmful content: </li></ul><ul><li>Pornography </li></ul><ul><li>...
How big a problem? <ul><li>Technical limitations – quality of streamed and downloaded video still not great. </li></ul><ul...
Possible responses - tools <ul><li>Age verification </li></ul><ul><li>Content rating </li></ul><ul><li>Walled garden appro...
Possible responses - regulatory approaches <ul><li>Regulation </li></ul><ul><li>  - appropriate if industry unwilling or u...
The UK’s response <ul><li>Code of practice launched by six network operators in 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>All commercial con...
Conclusions <ul><li>Important to balance benefits and risks. </li></ul><ul><li>Not clear that mobile Internet content is y...
Remaining challenges? <ul><li>Improve the efficacy and accuracy of age verification and filtering technologies. </li></ul>...
Please send comments to: Victoria.nash@oii.ox.ac.uk www.oii.ox.ac.uk
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  1. 1. Implications of the Emerging Mobile Internet for the Protection of Minors in the UK Presentation to the Safer Internet Forum Meeting on Child Safety and Mobile Phones Dr Victoria Nash, Oxford Internet Institute 14th June 2005
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>Launch of 3G across Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Growing media profile of child protection issues </li></ul><ul><li>Establishment of UK Mobile operators’ code of practice </li></ul>
  3. 3. Changing Technology <ul><li>Mobile Internet around since 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>2.5G (GPRS) offered much faster connectivity and colour screens – MMS, games and WAP </li></ul><ul><li>3G phones benefit from higher bandwidth, bigger & better quality screens – video, audio and graphic content, streaming as well as downloads. </li></ul><ul><li>Post-3G? WiFi, WiMax, seamless roaming… </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Internet: Mobiles vs PCs <ul><li>Essentially the same risks as posed by Internet access via PCs but: </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile use is usually private and unsupervised. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobiles are largely ubiquitous. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile operators are currently the primary gatekeepers to the Internet for phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Convergence of capture and distribution. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Internet easier for network operators to control. </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering defaults opt-in to adult content, but are many stages at which opt-in/opt-out decisions can be taken. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What are the risks to children? <ul><li>Inappropriate or harmful content: </li></ul><ul><li>Pornography </li></ul><ul><li>Some interactive services e.g. chatrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Music & videos with adult content </li></ul><ul><li>Spam </li></ul><ul><li>Games with violent or sexual content </li></ul><ul><li>Gambling </li></ul><ul><li>Some premium rate services </li></ul><ul><li>Other issues: privacy, financial pressure… </li></ul>
  6. 6. How big a problem? <ul><li>Technical limitations – quality of streamed and downloaded video still not great. </li></ul><ul><li>Financial limitations – costs of data download and multimedia services still relatively high. </li></ul><ul><li>Network operators as gate-keepers </li></ul><ul><li>Many children accessing inappropriate material on fixed Internet; no reliable data yet on mobiles. </li></ul><ul><li>Many parents unaware of children’s online experiences. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Possible responses - tools <ul><li>Age verification </li></ul><ul><li>Content rating </li></ul><ul><li>Walled garden approach </li></ul><ul><li>Hotlines </li></ul><ul><li>Filtering </li></ul><ul><li>Education and awareness </li></ul>
  8. 8. Possible responses - regulatory approaches <ul><li>Regulation </li></ul><ul><li> - appropriate if industry unwilling or unable to regulate own behaviour </li></ul><ul><li>Self-regulation </li></ul><ul><li> - appropriate if problem not severe, and industry willing and able to act unilaterally. </li></ul><ul><li>Co-regulation </li></ul><ul><li> - appropriate if want to ensure government/user involvement and if want to establish sanctions. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The UK’s response <ul><li>Code of practice launched by six network operators in 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>All commercial content unsuitable for under-18s only available to customers when networks satisfied they are 18+. </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Mobile Classification Body established. </li></ul><ul><li>Chatrooms for under-18s to be moderated. </li></ul><ul><li>Content classification framework to be created by body independent of operators. </li></ul><ul><li>Parents and carers will be able to apply filters. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Conclusions <ul><li>Important to balance benefits and risks. </li></ul><ul><li>Not clear that mobile Internet content is yet causing significant problems for minors. </li></ul><ul><li>UK approach seemingly successful but remains to be seen how the Code will work in practice especially as technology moves on. </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile Internet industries generally well-suited to co-regulatory or self-regulatory response and industry need not suffer from their adoption. </li></ul><ul><li>Codes of practice will only work if they are consensual, and applied rigorously and transparently. </li></ul><ul><li>Media literacy training still key. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Remaining challenges? <ul><li>Improve the efficacy and accuracy of age verification and filtering technologies. </li></ul><ul><li>Address the issues raised by international roaming. </li></ul><ul><li>Learn more about how children use their phones. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop a more sophisticated understanding of ‘harmful content’. </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain a balance between information rights and concerns for child protection. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Please send comments to: Victoria.nash@oii.ox.ac.uk www.oii.ox.ac.uk

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