The OIS works closely with the Internet Service Providers Industry here in Ireland. The Industry is represented by the Internet Service Providers Industry Association of Ireland (ISPAI).
Who are the ISPAI
The ISPAI, formed in 1998 is the main voice of the ISP industry in Ireland, representing both indigenous and multinational ISPs operating in the market.
Upon its foundation in 1998 and on foot of the Report of the Working Group on Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet, the ISPAI undertook to implement a number of the key recommendations of the Report in support of the development of the most effective form of self-regulation for the Industry. Chief among these were adoption of measures to tackle Child Pornography and the Development of a Code of Practice and Ethics for Internet Service Providers
Code Of Practice and Ethics for the Irish Internet Service Provider Industy
The Code of Practice and Ethics outlines the self-regulatory environment that the Internet industry in Ireland has committed itself to. The Code was launched in Dublin on Tuesday 5th February 2002.
What does the code actually do?
- Commits participating ISPs to ensure that their services and promotional materials will not contain material that is illegal , misleading, likely to incite violence or cruelty, racial hatred, prejudice, discrimination or even where the material is not illegal, but it is considered inappropriate or calculated to cause distress, anxiety, inconvenience to others . They must also include a link to the hotline.ie site.
- Mandates the development of acceptable use policies (AUPs) for participating ISPs which clearly set out guidelines for customers/users, including prohibitions on customers using ISP service to create, host, transmit material which is unlawful / libellous / abusive / offensive / vulgar / obscene / calculated to cause unreasonable offence. AUPs must include "harmful material" clauses . They are also obliged to obey instructions from hotline.ie to remove specified material.
- Mandates ISP to maintain effective relationship with Hotline.ie by ensuring appropriate communication structures are in place and they fully comply with directions/requests for take-downs/ assistance from Hotline/Gardaí.
- Support the principle of User empowerment by developing policies that encourage a policy of end-user empowerment and by ensuring that the hotline is used to provide information on ways to protect endusers.
The Code also sets out clear procedures for dealing with complaints regarding third party content, illegal material and harmful material.
Compliance with the Code of Practice
For the self-regulatory framework to work effectively, the highest possible compliance with the Code of Practice is absolutely essential. Currently there are 23 internet service providers signed up to the code. Between them, it is estimated by the ISPAI that, they represent 90% of the market.
The OIS is committed to ensuring the highest level of compliance with the Code of Practice, and will continue to work with the ISPAI to encourage those providers who have as yet to sign up to do so at the earliest possible opportunity
The position of the Government is clear: If self-regulation is not proving effective enough, then the OIS may consider the introduction of legislation to regulate the sector.