EU to crack down on internet child porn and junk e-mails

EU telecoms ministers are set to adopt a new programme aimed at
protecting children from violent and pornographic content over the
internet. New action against junk e-mails is also set to be given
the green light.

EU telecoms ministers meeting on 9 December look set to adopt
a   new programme to protect children against illegal internet
content, especially child pornography and violent or racist
material. Ministers are also set to back new   short-term action against junk commercial e-mails (spam).

By giving their green light to the report by Ms. Mastenbroek
(PSE, Netherlands) adopted by an overwhelming majority in
Parliament last week, ministers are expected to renew existing EU
action to fight harmful content over the internet (Safer Internet
Plus programme). 

With a 45 million euro budget from 2005 to 2008, the draft
programme will fund projects to protect children against harmful
content, including the extension of an existing network of national
hotlines to cover more European countries. New member states and
candidate countries are especially targeted since no hotlines
currently exist in these countries. 

The development of filtering technologies is also to be
encouraged under the programme but with due respect to EU privacy
rules, according to the draft text. The Commission will report by
mid-2006 on the implementation of the programme.

EU ministers are also set to back renewed action against
unsolicited direct marketing e-mails (‘spam’) proposed by the Dutch
Presidency. EU diplomats gave their approval to a   Presidency policy paper on which ministers are expected to
conclude without debate. 

The paper focuses on short-term action against spam, including
improving enforcement co-operation and establishing an informal
information exchange network of national spam authorities. The
proposed Council conclusions propose to evaluate whether
differences in national privacy laws might constitute an obstacle
to effective cross-border enforcement.

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