Protection of Minors Online – Code of Good Practice
On 13 October 2014, the National Broadcasting Council was presented with a "Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Minors in VOD services". The document was signed by six on-demand service providers, who commit themselves to taking effective technical measures to prevent minors from accessing harmful content. The Code was prepared in cooperation with KRRiT by the Internet Employer Association IAB Polska.
The National Broadcasting Council, fulfilling its statutory obligation to initiate and support self-regulation, took an active part in consultations regarding the creation of the Code and readily accepted the document signed by the largest entities from the VoD sector in Poland, including Cyfrowy Polsat, Grupa Onet, Grupa Wirtualna Polska, Iplex, Cineman, and Ipla, among others.
The Code thus covers a distinct majority of Polish VoD services, as the market share of the above providers is estimated to be over 80 percent.
The broadcasters' agreement was established in connection with the coming into force on 28 February 2013 of Article 47e paragraph 1 of the Broadcasting Act, which obliges VoD providers to apply technical protective measures or other use appropriate means to protect minors from content which would be detrimental to them.
The document was created in accordance with recommendations included in Directive 2010/13/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, which requires the adoption of appropriate measures to ensure effective protection of minors from having access to content that is detrimental to their physical, mental and moral development, while maintaining the basic right to freedom of expression.
"Activity related to the protection of minors from content that may have a negative impact on their development is one of the most important tasks of the National Broadcasting Council. Working together with on-demand service providers to develop technical measures to protect minors from access to broadcasts or other transmissions which may have a detrimental effect on their physical, mental or moral development, in particular content involving pornography or gratuitous violence, is a very valuable initiative
” emphasized Jan Dworak, Chairman of the National Broadcasting Council.
According to the signed document, making on-demand media services publically available, which includes content that is unsuitable for underage viewers, may take place only and exclusively alongside the use of technical protective measures which effectively verify the viewer is of appropriate age.
VoD providers may create their own protection systems. Proposed solutions include age verification through the use of credit card data or through payment upon first access to the inappropriate content (e.g. through the use of a credit card, bank transfer, etc.). Insofar as is technically possible, providers may also set up a so-called safe mode, which filters inappropriate content and which may be deactivated only after verifying the viewer is of appropriate age. Verification should be done through entering, for example, an alphanumeric PIN code or other equivalent solution.
"We are very pleased that the National Broadcasting Council has granted our organization and society such trust and that we may contribute towards promoting the protection of minors online. The initiative was met with a very warm response by practically all service providers offering online video material. The Code is a perfect example of the fact that numerous key challenges may be met by interested parties through self-regulation,
"said Włodzimierz Schmidt, President of IAB Polska.
"The Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Minors in VoD services" was created to ensure effective protection of minors from detrimental content, taking into consideration technical capabilities, the level of harm in the broadcast or other transmissions to minors in specific age categories as well as the unique characteristics of on-demand audiovisual media services. The Code was formulated in such a way as to ensure effective enforcement of the regulations contained therein.
The document is available at www.iab.org.pl
Since 2013, the National Broadcasting Council has monitored providers of programming for underage Internet users, as well as parental control and the estimated scale of piracy of VoD offers containing pornography which are registered or hosted in Poland.
KRRiT also undertakes educational activity in the area of youth and children’s protection online; it has initiated and actively participates in conferences on this topic, and cooperates with non-governmental organisations, educators and universities. It supports and offers consultation on self-regulation initiatives for building effective security systems in broadcasts which may be detrimental to the development of minors.
Code of Good Practice on the Protection of Minors in On-demand Audiovisual Media Services