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Internet: Crime

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under which legislation prosecutions may be made of those found guilty of uploading video content onto the internet containing (a) criminal damage, (b) physical assaults and (c) vandalism. (127399)

Uploading videos of a criminal offence is not necessarily itself a criminal offence It will be a criminal offence if it amounts to inciting the offence involved, or if it involves the publication of obscene material. UK based Internet service providers take a responsible approach to the contents they host. Most have acceptable use policies which enable them to remove content from the site that is distasteful, even if it is not necessarily illegal.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with the Internet Watch Foundation on video clips on websites which show (a) violence and physical assaults and (b) criminal damage. (127410)

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) is the only authorised organisation in the UK operating an internet 'hotline' for the public to report their exposure to potentially illegal content online. Its aim is to minimise the availability of potentially illegal internet content, specifically child abuse images hosted anywhere in the world; criminally obscene content hosted in the UK; and incitement to racial hatred content hosted in the UK. While we work closely with the IWF on these issues, we have not had any discussions with it about video clips on websites which show violence, physical assaults or criminal damage as these issues are outside of its remit.

In terms of industry regulation, the vast majority of the UK internet industry takes a responsible approach to what content it hosts, both of its own volition and in co-operation with law enforcement and Government agencies. Where the industry is advised that content it hosts contravenes UK legislation, it will remove it. In addition, internet service providers (ISPs) also have contracts with their customers concerning what may be hosted on their servers called acceptable use policies (AUPs), which allow them to remove offensive or objectionable material, even if it is not illegal. Anyone concerned about the contents of a website should approach the relevant ISP hosting the site and ask it to consider whether it breaches its AUP.