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EU extends Safer Internet scheme

MS gets generous with the IWF

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A European scheme to tackle illegal and harmful digital content is to be extended for another two years.

The Safer Internet Action Plan - which supports a network of hotlines in Europe where people can report illegal content - has now been given the go-ahead by the European Parliament to run until the end of 2004.

As part of the two-year extension, Safer Internet will broaden its remit to cover dodgy digital material carried by mobile and broadband platforms. It will also look at online games, peer-to-peer file transfer and all forms of real-time communications such as chat rooms and instant messaging.

In a statement, European Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society, Erkki Liikanen, said: "It is important that everyone, including parents understand the Internet, and in particular the way their children can use it. The extension of our Internet Action Plan is an important step in this direction."

Separately, Microsoft has made a "significant contribution to the Internet Watch Foundation" to help the IWF upgrade and modernise its IT kit.

The kit - including MS software - will be used by IWF staff to process the thousands of illegal images it receives each year.

Peter Robbins, Chief Executive Officer of the IWF, said: "Analysing thousands of potentially illegal and offensive images is in its very nature very graphically heavy, and therefore our efficiency in actioning the queries we receive depends entirely on our systems capabilities.

"With Microsoft's support we can purchase the servers and other hardware that will help to make these processes quicker and easier." ®

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