Controlling illegal and harmful content on the internet
As the Internet proliferated during the 1990s, public concern grew about the existence of illegal Internet content such as child pornography and also the access to other sexually explicit content by children. Consequently, regulating illegal and harmful Internet content remains one of the greatest concerns for governments, supranational bodies and international organizations. In response to these concerns there have been many initiatives to deal specifically with the existence of illegal and harmful content over the Internet. Most of these initiatives combine co-regulatory efforts with an emphasis upon self-regulation by the Internet industry. They result in the creation of hotlines for reporting illegal Internet content to assist law enforcement agencies, and development of filtering and rating systems to deal with children’s access to content which may be deemed as harmful. These issues are quite different in nature and should be addressed separately, as what may not be appropriate for children to see may not necessarily be illegal or even inappropriate for adults to see.