An Garda Síochána in partnership with BT Ireland, Eir Ireland, Sky Ireland, Tesco Mobile, Three Ireland and Vodafone Ireland have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will block access to websites containing child sexual abuse material.
The purpose of preventing access to such pages is to protect consumers, including children, from viewing documented child sexual abuse material, and to prevent the further exploitation of children who have already been abused and photographed/filmed.
The Garda Blocking Initiative is a voluntary scheme under which Irish Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and An Garda Síochána collaborate to block access to illegal child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
The Garda Blocking Initiative was introduced in November 2014 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between An Garda Síochána and the Internet Service Provider UPC (now Virgin Media) regarding the blocking of child abuse material.
Under the Blocking Initiative, the Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB) provides each Internet Service Provider with an updated list of suspect domain names. This is a list of websites that have been verified by Interpol to contain the most severe child sexual abuse material.
Speaking at today’s launch Detective Chief Superintendent Declan Daly, Garda National Protective Services Bureau (GNPSB), said: "Child Abuse Material on the internet is an exploitative and demeaning crime. It is a child abuse offence, which has pathways to the contact offending of children.
"The continued introduction of blocking child abuse imagery in Ireland, protects children in our communities by reducing demand, it increases their protection and facilitates a concentration of policing resources towards those who seek to harm children online. I welcome the signing of these MOU’s today and renew An Garda Síochána’s commitment to working with industry to protecting children and preventing access to this material.”
Blocking of online child abuse material is carried out worldwide to prevent people from gaining access to child sexual abuse material. It is not a complete solution to restricting access to such material; however its aim is to deter individuals who are in danger of accessing child abuse material, either deliberately or accidentally.
Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) have played a pivotal role in co-ordinating the ISPs in their endeavours to reach this point today.
Torlach Denihan of Ibec, said: "Telecommunications Industry Ireland, the Ibec group representing the telecoms sector, welcomes the signing today by its members of the memorandum of understanding with An Garda Síochána to block websites containing child abuse material. This builds on current practice and reflects the partnership approach to this issue involving industry, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality.”
Interpol "Worst of” list (IWOL) contains domains that provide the most severe child sexual abuse material available on the open web and there are currently 1,857 websites on the IWOL list that are blocked worldwide.
The new initiative will now apply to approximately 96% of internet users in the country.