14 April 2005
Increased use of 3G mobile phones and access to the web brings risks.
There are concerns about who can view certain types of content. How is this controlled and how can the abuse of mobile systems for the dissemination of criminal Internet content be tackled?
Since 2003, the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has built up an excellent working partnership with all the UK Mobile Network Operators. This concerns safety and responsibility issues over the future development of 3rd generation mobile services. All of the operators are members of the IWF, as are mobile manufacturers Samsung and Nokia.
The Mobile Data Association predicts that by the end of 2005, 75% of all UK handsets in use will be able to access the Internet. WAP page impressions are expected to reach a total of 15 billion in the UK market.
Whilst developing appropriate measures to deal with potentially illegal mobile content, the IWF contributed to the mobile operators Code of Practice in 2004. The code reviewed safety & responsibility issues and safeguards designed to protect members of the public using a mobile phone to access the Web. It particularly considered those who are vulnerable, such as children.
Additionally, there is now an Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB), which has been set up to assess content and to effectively rate it. This is to determine what type of material should require the viewer to be over 18 years of age.
Through its fixed and WAP sites, the IWF advocates the same reporting and take down procedures for illegal content on mobiles as it does for PCs.
If and when illegal content appears on the services Mobile Operators make available, then the IWF will work in partnership with them, to have illegal content removed and to assist the police wherever possible to trace the offender.
Peer-to-peer exchange of indecent photos sent between individual mobiles remains the remit of the police.
IWF WEBSITE: http://iwf.org.uk
Young People's Media Network - Coordinator
c/o ECMC (European Centre for Media Competence)
Bergstr. 8 / 10th floor
D-45770 Marl - Germany
Mobile: +49 176 23107083
Fax: +49 12126 23107083
Mailing list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/youthful-media