Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Operation and Resourcing of Coimisiún na Meán: Digital Services Commissioner

Dr. John Evans:

Yes, there is a distinction around illegal content. Under the DSA, illegal content comes under what is illegal because of EU law or national law. What is illegal in one member state might be different from what is illegal in another. In Ireland, there is a long list of illegal content. I have a list here of examples of such content including: involving a credible threat of violence, which comes under section 5 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997; a threat of grossly or offensive communication, which is under section 4 of the Harassment, Harmful Communications and Related Offences Act; offensive conduct of a sexual nature, which comes under section 45 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 2017; and anything to do child sexual abuse. Material that breaches copyright could come into it as well. These are very much the kinds of crimes against the most vulnerable in society right through to infringement on copyrights. As an agency we do not do the initial assessment of whether content is illegal. The first line of defence is at the platforms. The platforms need to be able to determine what is illegal and what is not illegal. Our role, when it comes to it, is if somebody complains that their complaint has not been properly dealt with by the platform. Then we may have to come to a view ourselves on whether or not content is illegal. It is limited to that.


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