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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags securityinternetfirewallsonline safetyeuropean commission

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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?