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An Garda Síochána Sign MOU with UPC on the Restriction of Child Sexual Abuse Material Online

Online Safeguards 10th November 2014

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan and Magnus Ternsjö, CEO of UPC, today (November 10th 2014) announced that UPC is to immediately restrict access to domain names containing child sexual abuse material.

The announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between An Garda Síochána and UPC. 

Under the MOU, UPC will restrict access to domains or URLs (internet addresses) containing child sexual abuse material based on a list provided by An Garda Síochána.  If a user accesses child sexual abuse material, whether deliberately or mistakenly, access will be restricted and an advisory message will be displayed outlining the reasons why.

UPC is the first major broadband service provider in Ireland to implement such a restriction. An Garda Síochána is actively engaged with a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on them putting in place a similar restriction. Such discussions can take time because each ISP has unique and significant technical and resource issues to resolve before putting in place the restriction on their system.

Similar blocks are in place by ISPs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, UK, France and Malta. This approach is endorsed by both Interpol and Europol.

Minister Fitzgerald offered her congratulations to the Commissioner, to the Gardaí and to UPC on this notable achievement. The Minister said that she was aware that the launch of the new initiative resulted from a lot of very hard work on the part of An Garda Siochána and of UPC over a long period of time.

The Minister said that child abuse is a heinous crime and its depiction on the internet compounds the offence. "The close cooperation with law enforcement which was launched today will reduce the amount of child abuse material which will be available on the internet in Ireland. It will also reinforce the message that the viewing or possession of or indeed the trading in child abuse material is simply not acceptable,” commented the Minister.

She commended UPC for being the first company engage in this initiative with the Gardaí and hoped that other companies would follow suit in this very worthy endeavour.

Commissioner O’Sullivan said: "We welcome UPC putting in place this valuable restriction. They have put significant time and resources into this project.

Other ISPs have indicated they want to sign-up to a similar restriction and we look forward to signing MOUs with them.

This initiative will play an important role in tackling the use of child sexual abuse material online and dissuade some people from accessing it. However, we fully recognise that others who wish to view, distribute and make this vile material will use different means to access it and spread it online. As such, this restriction is one of a range of measures that An Garda Síochána is using to combat the production, distribution and possession of child sexual abuse material on the Internet.”

UPC Ireland CEO, Magnus Ternsjö said: "The rapid expansion of digital technologies, coupled with the changing needs of consumers, has brought considerable value to our global society, as well as unprecedented challenges.  This partnership underlines our commitment to work alongside law enforcers to help raise awareness of uniquely objectionable material while staying safe and fully enjoying the benefits of the online world.  We are pleased to work with An Garda Síochána and the Government on this important initiative.  The involvement of key stakeholders such as ISPs is a legitimate way forward for the Gardai to deal with such matters.”

According to UPC, it adheres fully to Data Protection legislation and it should be noted that the Memorandum of Understanding does not provide for any transfer of user data to the authorities. The IP address and identity of a person trying to access domains is not stored when the blocking notice appears.  UPC said it does not make its user data available to any external parties except where required to do so by law.

To request an image of the "Stop” page please e-mail the Garda Press Office at pressoffice@garda.ie


A domain name locates an organization or other entity on the Internet, for example www.garda.ie

Individuals who have objections to being protected from particular websites or who believe that this protection is incorrect or unjustified can contact An Garda Síochána at dvsaiu@garda.ie

The Internet Child Protection System is part of a project initiated by the European Chief’s of Police that aims to combat organised criminal groups behind the commercial sexual exploitation of children.