June news from the Internet Services Providers Association
I sometimes wonder if our much criticised ISPs are actually our best hope for maintaining some form of free internet (free of total government control, that is). The Internet Services Providers’ Association (ISPA) June news has some fascinating snippets, and a number of items caught my eye. First off, Mark Stephens CBE has been confirmed as the keynote speaker at the ISPA awards next week:
Mr Stephens has undertaken some of the highest profile cases in the country and abroad and he will be speaking about his recent work advising Julian Assange and Wikileaks and his thoughts on the recent Twitter super-injunction issue.
I would just love to be there. But I don’t have a black tie.
Elsewhere in the news, the delicate balance that ISPs must take is amply highlighted: they are there to provide a service to their customers, not to be an arm of the government. At its 15th Parliamentary Advisory Forum, focused on protecting children from inappropriate content and hosted by Claire Perry, the MP again called for ISPs to offer opt-out network level content filters. ISPs, however, seem to be concentrating on ‘opt-in’ filters. Responding to Ed Vaizey’s neutral (typical minister) comment that parents should be given an active choice but that the government is wary to implement regulation,
Nicholas Lansman the ISPA Secretary General welcomed the Minister’s comments. He acknowledged that more can be done but emphasised “that protecting children’s welfare online was a shared responsibility between; parents who need to be actively responsible for the safety of their children and take an ongoing interest in their use of the internet and ISPs who should provide them with effective parental control software”
This attitude also shows in the ISPA’s statement on the Bailey Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, which includes
ISPA believes the most effective way to control children and young people’s access to content on the Internet is through the education of parents and the use of device-based parental control software and most ISPs already offer parental control solutions as part of their service.
This is the bit that governments always miss. Their responsibility is to support parents in parental responsibility, not to take over parental responsibility. I just hope that the ISPs can retain focus on their customers rather than give in to their governments.
Note to ISPs: your customers want net neutrality.