Today, 11 February 2020, is Safer Internet Day in Europe and about 150 countries around the world. As the leading Irish web host, Blacknight is playing its part, and our CEO Michele Neylon joins us for a podcast to mark the occcasion.

Click on the player below to play the podcast, or download it here: 16:39; 10MB; MP3.

 

Recently, Blacknight was one of 48 internet industry leaders to agree a Framework to Address Abuse of the DNS (Domain Name System). The Framework identifies four types of web content abuse which a domain name registry or registrar should act to disrupt, without waiting for a court order. These are: (1) child sexual abuse materials; (2) illegal distribution of opioids online; (3) human trafficking; and (4) specific and credible incitements to violence.

Internet infrastructure companies tread a fine line, explains Michele. On the one hand, “we are not the internet police”; we cannot vet everything that is carried on our networks and we must not censor valid expression. But the internet ecosystem is dependant on trust and good faith, and if network operators are made aware of illegal activity which can be verified, then they should act.

“Internet technology has allowed small businesses to flourish and grow without having to be in big towns or cities. I can just as easily work with colleagues in the US, as I can with people in Siberia or West Clare. But for all of that to work there needs to be a sense of trust in the entire system. Trust is not something that can be forced. It’s something that’s earned and every single time you have a bad experience online that will erode your trust in the system.”

Last year saw the 20th anniversary of Hotline.ie, established in 1998 to provide a free, secure and anonymous service where the public can report suspected illegal online content including child sexual abuse material (CSAM), human trafficking, hate speech and financial scams. More than 12,000 reports were received by the service in 2018.

While companies like Blacknight have an important role, we would stress the importance of public awareness and Internet literacy. Safer Internet Day is an important initiative in raising awareness among young people, in particular, and their families. We all need to play our part, by spreading awareness of internet safety and encouraging people to report illegal content.

Blacknight has also published a guide for Internet users titled Seven Simple Steps to Online Security.

Read our press release in full: Blacknight “won’t wait for a court order” in cases of serious abuse.

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