The National Advisory Council for Online Safety has published its second progress report today, Friday 8th May 2020.
The Council was established in September 2018 as part of the Government's Action Plan for Online Safety and brings together online safety experts from across academia, NGOs, industry, and Government.
The terms of reference and resulting work programme of the Council are designed to make the most of the experience and knowledge of its members. They include providing advice to Government on online safety issues, identifying emerging online safety issues where the Government may need to take action, inputting into the development of a wide range of online safety guidance materials, and reviewing national and international research.
In 2019, the Council oversaw the commissioning of a large-scale research project to develop a strong evidence base and robust benchmark for online safety initiatives and future research. More recently, the Council has provided substantive feedback and input on the proposed Online Safety and Media Regulation Bill, the general scheme of which was published on 10 January 2020.
Speaking today, Minister of State Seán Canney, chairperson of the Council, stated:
"Recent events have shown us the benefits that the online world can have in our lives, keeping us connected and close even in the most difficult circumstances. However, in these hyper-connected times we are also more keenly aware of the challenges of the online world. Online safety is a priority for us all and the National Advisory Council for Online Safety has a key role to play in making the online world a safer place for our citizens, especially our most vulnerable."
The establishment of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety is provided for by Action 20 of the Government's Action Plan for Online Safety 2018-2019, which represents a whole of Government approach to online safety.
The Council, chaired by Minister of State Seán Canney, is a multi-stakeholder forum with a broad membership drawn from key stakeholder groups, including NGOs and industry. The Secretariat for the Council is provided by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment.