UPC Ireland introduces internet safeguards for child sex abuse material

Broadband provider keen to promote safe and responsible online activity

David Baker
by David Baker on 11th November, 2014

UPC Ireland has become the first fibre powered broadband provider to restrict access to child sexual abuse material, following an agreement with An Garda Síochána.

The Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald,T.D., joined with Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan and UPC Ireland chief executive Magnus Ternsjo to unveil the deal.

The agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding between UPC and An Garda Síochána that will see UPC restrict access to certain internet addresses and domains.

Effective immediately, the move will limit access to child sexual abuse material based on a list of sites provided by the police force.

The move will promote child safety online as any user that tries to access child sexual abuse material – whether deliberately or mistakenly – will be met by a Garda advisory message explaining why there is no access.

Making a safeguard possible

Ms Fitzgerald, T.D. welcomed the move and acknowledged the level of work that had been carried out between the Gardaí and UPC Ireland in order to make the deal possible.

The Minister added that child abuse is a heinous crime and that the closer cooperation with law enforcement which has been launched will reduce what material can be found online in Ireland.

She commended UPC Ireland for entering into the initiative and added that other companies should follow suit in a bid to build further internet safeguards.

Garda Commissioner Ms O’Sullivan also praised UPC for the “significant time and resources” put into the project and suggested that other internet service providers had said they wanted to take similar approaches.

“This initiative will play an important role in tackling the use of child sexual abuse material online and dissuade some people from accessing it,” she said.

Reacting to a changing world

The Commissioner added that the safeguard was just one of a range of options being used by An Garda Síochána to tackle the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material.

UPC Ireland chief executive Mr Tersjo said the rapid expansion of digital technologies had created “unprecedented challenges” that need to be overcome.

“This partnership underlines our commitment to work alongside law enforcers, to help raise awareness of uniquely objectionable material while staying safe and fully enjoy the benefits of the online world,” he said.

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