Internet 'Mediation Service' Proposed by UK Gov't

Dennis Faas's picture

Ed Vaizey, Britain's Communications Minister, believes that people should be able to demand that inaccurate data is deleted from the Internet. Speaking to the House of Commons, Vaizey said that a mediation service would help make it easier to remove misleading information.

As an example, Vaizey cited the case of a women's refuge that appeared on Google Street View: pleas from the refuge to have its location removed -- in order to protect the identities of the women living there -- proved futile, and frustrations arose from not having a more straightforward process for getting the information taken down.

Burden of Mediation Falls on Internet Service Providers

Vaizey was worried about the fact that there was no opportunity for a meeting or dialogue to take place over the incident.

According to the UK's Telegraph, it is likely that the burden of any mediation service would fall to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), in much the same way that Nominet, the UK's Internet registry, deals with domain name disputes. (Source:

Vaizey told the House of Commons that Nominet runs an extremely effective mediation service, so people who dispute the ownership of an Internet domain may become involved in discussing a low-cost resolution for disputes.

ISPA Concerned About Additional Burdens on ISPs

However, the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA), representing ISPs, has expressed concern over the proposal. The ISPA believes that people already have a number of ways available for removing content from the Internet.

The ISPA voiced concern about the potential for additional burdens on ISPs, and questioned, for example, how a mediation service would work with content that is hosted outside the UK. (Source:

Under Vaizey's plan, court action would not be required before asking ISPs to remove inappropriate or inaccurate content and the Government would open discussions with ISPs to establish steps needed to remove data from the web.

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