February 12th, 2009 | Published in Google Public Policy
Although there are European laws in place to protect online users (remember, if an act is illegal offline it's illegal online also), legislative processes can be time consuming and have the potential to be out of date before they can be enforced. That's why self-regulation is a crucial tool for industry be able react quickly to immediate policy needs. We applaud the European Commission also for recognising the need for this approach.
On Safer Internet Day, earlier this week, Google signed up to support the "Safer Social Networking Principles" that were agreed between online service providers with the help of the European Commission through its Social Networking Taskforce. We think this is a great initiative and precisely the right approach to be taken to help protect young people on social networking services.
Obviously Google itself is not a social networking service but some elements of certain services do have social elements and we will endeavor to uphold the principles. On YouTube for example, we give users a wealth of safety information in our "Safety Tips" centre featuring tips and guidance on topics like teen safety, cyber citizenship, cyberbullying, hateful content, and privacy. We'll be making a full self-assessment of the principles and our services by April, along with all the other signatories.
The creation of the principles is another step in the developing the maturing self-regulatory approach to child protection on-line, building on initiatives such as Teach Today.