An EU firewall won't protect kids, says top legislator

Education and parental responsibility are the answers, according to Neelie Kroes

The European Union's top legislator on digital issues has said that education and awareness are the best way to protect children online, dealing a blow to plans for a so-called European Union firewall.

"We cannot, and should not, put our children and youngsters in a digital glass cage, hoping they will never encounter any harmful or illegal content online. This will simply not work," said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

The Commissioner's comments fly in the face of the Council of the European Union's plans to create a "virtual Schengen border" (the so-called Schengen area is the common passport area within the E.U.) with ISPs required to block "illicit content" from outside the area.

Much of the justification for this plan, which was discussed at a Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP) meeting in February, is centered around blocking child porn sites and protecting children. But in a very common-sense approach Kroes said: "Prevention, protection, prosecution must be strengthened at the European and international level. But we must also remember that building safety also means building trust: trust in our children and youngsters that they have the intelligence, capacity and maturity to use these wonderful instruments in a positive and empowering way."

Later this year the Commission will begin work on an initiative and the Commissioner said that parental control tools and age-rating systems could play a part in this. "This will not be a top-down approach, but a collective effort to make the Internet and the digital world a safer place; to make sure that our children get all the protection, help and support they need," she said.

Kroes' comments show that she understands the Internet and offers great hope for the creation of effective, pragmatic child-friendly policies in the future, said Joe McNamee, advocacy coordinator for European digital rights group EDRi

"We simply cannot develop effective policy as long as we listen to snake-oil salesmen that are selling us an unachievable totally secure, 'civilized' Internet. Even if it were achievable, such 'security' would destroy the value of the Internet for fundamental rights, innovation, society and the economy," McNamee added.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags firewallsonline safetyeuropean commissionsecurityinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?