Ed Vaizey to write to major ISPs, Google and Facebook

British government wants Internet privacy mediation service

The British coalition government is to discuss a deal with ISPs to offer a mediation service for so-called web ‘takedown’ requests of content hosted on British ISPs.

In a parliamentary debate on Thursday, coalition Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries Ed Vaizey said the current non profit domain organisation Nominet offered an “extreme effective mediation service” relating to disputes of ownership of Internet domains but went on to discuss the need for an equivalent service regarding breaches of privacy.

“It is certainly worth the Government brokering a conversation with the internet industry about setting up a mediation service for consumers who have legitimate concerns that their privacy has been breached,” Vaizey said.

Vaizey painted “internet companies” in a recalcitrant light when faced with complaints of invasion of privacy and “inaccurate information” being published online about members of the public. ““I am sure that many internet companies will say that that is almost impossible,” he said.

Responding to a case of a women’s refuge centre that had details placed online and was apparently unable to persuade the internet company to remove the content, Vaizey expressed worries about the fact it wasn’t possible to have a “meeting or dialogue” regarding objectionable details being published.

“… one wants at least to attempt to give consumers some opportunity to have a dialogue with internet companies, as they would be able to do if a newspaper had inadvertently published that information. ”

Vaizey said that he intended to write “write to the major ISPs and websites, such as Google and Facebook” requesting a meeting to discuss such a mediation service.

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