Policy Council first meeting addresses piracy, filtering and child abuse images

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The first meeting of the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR) Policy Council has resolved to take steps to tackle three of the most pressing concerns for Internet users and in particular owners of dot-xxx domains: piracy, filtering and child abuse images.

The two-day meeting, held last month in Washington DC, resulted in the formation of two working groups for piracy and filtering, and a number of measures to combat child abuse images online.

As the non-profit organization tasked with policy making for ICM Registry, IFFOR has a mandate to tackle issues that impact owners of dot-xxx domains as well as broader Internet users. The efforts will be funded through a $10 per domain contribution by ICM Registry to IFFOR.

IFFOR's nine-person Policy Council consists of four “stakeholder groups”: Child Advocacy, represented by Sharon Girling; Free Expression, represented by Nadine Strossen; Privacy and Security, Fred Cate; Sponsored Community, Jerry Barnett, Chad Belville, Trieu Hoang, Andy Kayton, and Florian Sitta; and an ICM representative, Bob Corn-Revere.

Each stakeholder group addressed the Policy Council on their area of concern and expertise, and then led discussion aimed at agreeing on the best steps to tackling those concerns. The result was the formation of the two working groups and a series of steps aimed at contributing to the global effort against child abuse images while also protecting the privacy of both consumers and producers of adult entertainment.

On piracy

The adult entertainment industry is facing the same problems as the music and film industries, all of which have seen a surge in pirated material in recent years. Much of that content is then made available elsewhere on the Internet. IFFOR’s Piracy working group will review the current situation and develop ways to effectively combat the problem, from technological solutions to legal recourse. A goal of the group is to find a solution that can work across the entire dot-xxx registry.

Chair of the working group will be VP of Business Development and General Counsel at AbbyWinters, Trieu Hoang. Trieu commented:"We look forward to working with the industry and ICM Registry to analyze the various anti-piracy solutions out there and to bring the best to dot-xxx owners. We can't stop piracy, but we can make it harder for people to make money from it. Part of that effort will be through new technology, and part through the education of financial institutions and other groups not aware of how they incentivize the theft of content."

On filtering

IFFOR's position is that the decision to restrict access to legal content should be made by the individual. Reflecting that philosophy, IFFOR oversees automatic labeling of all dot-xxx domains that enables parents to restrict adult content websites at the browser level.

The filtering working group will review the state of global filtering laws, regulations and plans with a view to educating legislators and others about the advantages and effectiveness of user-defined filtering as opposed to mandated filtering or blocking at the ISP or router-level.

Chair of the filtering working group, the Managing Director of Strictly Broadband and chairman of the UK's Adult Industry Trade Association, is Jerry Barnett. Jerry said of the group’s formation: "Content filtering is a worrying first step into Internet censorship and can easily be used to block any kind of content, reducing free access to information on the Internet. That’s why I volunteered to head-up the IFFOR filtering working group. We will monitor these efforts and communicate effective alternatives."

On child abuse images

IFFOR will join the global fight against child abuse images and work with existing third parties to recommend simple reporting, promote tools used to combat the problem, and educate policy makers and other groups to ensure a consistent and effective approach.

Sharon Girling, head of the Child Advocacy stakeholder group, has a 30-year career in law enforcement and investigating child exploitation, the last ten years of which were spent specializing in online child protection. She will act as the Policy Council's lead on the issue. "I am delighted with the development of IFFOR and the progress made by the Policy Council at our first meeting. The council adopted baseline policies which clearly prohibit any child abuse content or indicative material, including in domain names. In addition IFFOR uses MetaCert to ensure all dot-xxx websites (and sites to which they redirect) are labeled to help parents prevent their children from accessing them. Council members have taken a real step forward in child protection through these and other policies."

Board thoughts

Chairman of the IFFOR Board, Clyde Beattie, said of the first Policy Council meeting: “This is precisely what IFFOR was set up to do: review problems and find real-world solutions. I’m delighted that the Policy Council was able to agree upon these important issues at its first meeting."

He continued: "IFFOR can stand up for issues that are important to global internet users and dot-xxx registrants and which fit with our core goals. Child Advocacy, Piracy and Filtering fit that role neatly and I look forward to seeing the Policy Council make progress on all of them."

The IFFOR Policy Council comprises nine members: five from the adult sponsored community, three advocates for free expression, child protection, and privacy and security, and a representative of dot-xxx registry owner, ICM Registry.

For more information, contact:

Kieren McCarthy

Manager of public participation, IFFOR


+1 415 937 1451