Code of Practice and Ethics

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The Code of Practice and Ethics for Internet Service Providers

The Code of Practice and Ethics outlines the self-regulatory environment that the Irish Internet Industry has committed to and is a mark of assurance to a high quality of service from all Internet Service Providers.

The Code mandates the development of acceptable use policies (AUPs) for participating ISPs which clearly set out guidelines for customers/users, including prohibitions on customers using ISP service to create, host, transmit material which is unlawful / libellous / abusive / offensive / vulgar / obscene / calculated to cause unreasonable offence.

The Code governs the conduct of ISPAI’s Members. The application of the Code of Practice and Ethics is uniform and applicable to all of ISPAI’s Members without modification or exception. ISPAI’s Board of Directors administers the Code of Practice and Ethics.

The Code may be amended from time to time by 75% majority vote of Full Members of ISPAI. The Code mandates ISPs to maintain effective relationship with Hotline.ie by ensuring appropriate communication structures are in place and they fully comply with directions/requests for take-downs/ assistance from Hotline/Gardai.

The Code also sets out clear procedures for dealing with complaints regarding third party content, illegal material and harmful material.

KEY FEATURES of the Code of Practice and Ethics for ISPs

General:

  • ISPAI Board may propose regulatory policies on Internet issues from time to time
  • references to “illegal” is taken to mean the criminal law (e.g., copyright excluded)
  • in general, complaints are referred to ISP’s in the first instance

ISPs’ services and promotional materials:

  • must not enclose content which is illegal , misleading, likely to incite violence or cruelty, racial hatred, prejudice, discrimination even if not illegal, is considered inappropriate or calculated to cause distress, anxiety, inconvenience to others
  • must include link to Hotline.ie

Mandatory acceptable use policies (AUPs) for ISPs:

  • customers cannot use ISPs’ service to create, host, transmit material which is unlawful / libellous / abusive / offensive / vulgar / obscene / calculated to cause unreasonable offence
  • AUPs must include “harmful material” clauses (as opposed to confining code to illegal material)
  • ISPs must obey instructions from Hotline.ie to remove illegal material

In relation to Hotline.ie ISPs must:

  • provide point of contact
  • comply with take-down notices
  • retain copies of removed material if requested by Hotline.ie/Gardai

User empowerment:

  • ISPAI encourages a policy of end-user empowerment
  • Hotline.ie must actively seek to empower end users by providing information on ways to protect themselves and their children

Formal complaints procedures:

  • I. Formal standards of response times for all complaints to ISPs
  • II. Regarding Members’ compliance with the Code of Practice and Ethics
  • III. Relating to third party content
  • IV. Different “complaint streams” for illegal and/or harmful material

The code of practice is available for download at this link: Code of Practice and Ethics.