Internet “Mediation Service” Proposed

♬ Little lies
Little lies
Making up tragedies
Nothing is as it seems
Who cares what is real…♬

Lyrics and music by: Johnny Lee Andrews, David Bowman, Alexander Scholpp, Tarja Turunen, recorded by Tarja Turunen.

In an article in the Telegraph On-line, by Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor, published 02 Nov 2010, it states that Ed Vaizey, the Minister for Culture: ‘told the UK House of Commons that a mediation service would help make it easier for people to request that inaccurate personal information is removed from the internet.’

He cited the case of a women’s refuge, which appeared on Google Street View, as a situation in which a mediation service could have helped. Mr Vaizey said that pleas from the refuge to get its location removed from Google Maps fell on deaf ears, and there was frustration that the process for getting the data taken down was not more straightforward.

It seems that the Minister feels that there is no cheap, easy and efficient way to resolve disputes regarding inaccurate personal information on the web and/or breaches of privacy. In his opinion the method of resolving domain name disputes is a model worth examining:

“Nominet, the charity that is responsible for internet domain names, runs an extremely effective mediation service, so that people who are disputing the ownership of an internet domain name may be involved in a low-cost process to discuss how to resolve that dispute,” Mr Vaizey told the House of Commons during an adjournment debate.

However, not everyone is pleased with the idea:

[T]he Internet Service Providers Association, which represents ISPs, expressed concern about the proposals, and believes there are already a number of avenues available to people who wish to have content removed from the internet.

“The ISPA is concerned about the potential for any additional burden on ISPs and questions, for example, how a mediation service would work with content hosted outside the UK,” said a spokesman for the organisation.

What is most interesting is that court action will not be required before ISP’s take down the offending information. This hints quite strongly that an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) system would be established to resolve these types of disputes.

“We are keen to explore ideas for how we can work together with industry to improve the customer experience around complains and problems with service, as well as other online issues, including a mediation service,” said the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in a statement.

“Ed Vaizey will write to internet service providers and other key players to set up a meeting to explore various options.”

It seems that when lies on the internet make up tragedies, the Minister cares what is real.

(Hat tip to Colin Rule at eBay for drawing this article to my attention!)

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