11 July 2011-
Today, two Government departments joined to take the first steps towards a more effective strategy for tackling personal harm on the internet. Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister for Communications together with Home Office equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone MP hosted the event which for the first time brought industry, regulators, legislators and third sector stakeholders together to discuss the problems of personal harm on the internet – in particular cyber stalking and hate crime.
The meeting was convened with people working in this area about relevant policies and responsibilities, how they work in practice and what could be learned from the approach other countries are taking. The APPG Against Antisemitism has long been campaigning for improved action against internet based hate crime, particularly the adoption of best practices by Internet-Service Providers and moderators of comments boards, learning from the experiences of the industry in seeking to clamp down on child abuse on the internet.
After a situational briefing, a frank and open discussion took place which highlighted the real concerns of victims, the current operational practices in industry and the difficulties in tackling internet-based harm. Suggestions included the desing of a Government toolkit to empower victims of hate crime through the outlining of available systems. Ed Vaizey suggested that a pro-active position against hate from ISP’s could prevent regulation which his colleagues were pushing for. Lynne Featherstone announced a second, smaller meeting would be arranged to follow through some of the discussion that had been initiated at the conference.
John Mann MP, chair of the APPG Against Antisemitism said: “This is an important first step, but we now need to see action. I want it to be easier for those victims of internet hate or stalking to report offences and to be confident they will be dealt with quickly and decisively”
The first internet hate conference held in February 2009 had a particular focus on antisemitism but had not included industry representatives.
The meeting in the House of Commons Committee Room 10, was chaired by Kathryn Stone OBE (Chief Executive of VOICE UK and member of the Hate Crime Independent Advisory Group).