The department is responsible for developing policy in relation to the criminal use made of the internet and information technology generally, and coordinating a range of different cyber initiatives at national and international level.
The functions of the Office for Internet Safety have been incorporated into the department's Cybercrime Division and refocused to deal with issues of law enforcement, oversight of hotline.ie (the confidential reporting service for illegal content on the internet in Ireland) and the Garda Blocking Initiative, and coordination of EU funding proposals.
Electronic devices are also used to sell and transfer all sorts of illicit goods and services, from illicit drugs to online child sexual abuse and exploitation materials to lists of stolen credit card numbers.
Article 25 of Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography deals with ‘Measures against websites containing or disseminating child pornography’. The activities of Hotline.ie and the Garda blocking initiative together fulfil Article 25 in Ireland. The Cybercrime Division oversees these activities. The remainder of the Directive has been transposed into Irish law.
Hotline.ie provides a secure, confidential service for the public to report suspected illegal content on the internet.
The aim of the Garda Blocking Initiative is to block access to child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on the internet in Ireland. An Garda Síochána (AGS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a company, under which the company agreed to block access to CSAM. AGS is actively engaging with further providers in order to extend this initiative.
The department's Cybercrime Division provides representation at relevant national and international meetings in relation to cybercrime.
The Cybercrime Division also contributes, where appropriate, to international initiatives such as WePROTECT Global Alliance.
Online safety is being tackled in a coordinated manner by the government’s first Action Plan for Online Safety, which was launched in July 2018. The Action Plan reflects a whole of government approach and contains twenty-five actions under five main goals. The actions are assigned to six different government departments for implementation, including this department.
This department’s main actions under the Plan include:
Each action is further broken down into constituent elements.
The Action Plan is overseen by a Sponsors Group consisting of representatives of the six departments involved in the Plan and by the National Advisory Council on Online Safety (NACOS). NACOS comprises key stakeholders and is chaired by the Minister of State at the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media.
A single online access point, Be Safe Online, has been established as part of the gov.ie portal which provides pathways to information on online safety.
Other reports are available on Be Safe Online, including:
Combatting illegal, harmful and predatory use of the internet requires responses at national, EU and international levels. Ireland is part of the EU Safer Internet initiative. As part of the initiative, Ireland provides awareness raising, helplines and a hotline. These services are provided by partner organisations, with the department's Cybercrime Division providing coordination.
The project partners are:
The project partners are co-financed by the European Union’s Connecting Europe Facility.
The Irish Safer Internet Centre vision is a positive and inclusive digital world where children are safe and protected.
The Irish SIC is a partnership of four leading organisation with a mission to make the Internet a better place for children and young people, under the co-ordination of the Department of Justice, Cybercrime Division.
The consortium was appointed over a decade ago by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre in Ireland, and is one of 31 Safer Internet Centres in Europe and an integral part of the INSAFE-INHOPE network.
Webwise.ie is the Irish Internet Safety Awareness Centre and is part of the Professional Development Service for Teachers, a Department of Education funded support service. Webwise promotes safer, better Internet use through awareness raising and education initiatives targeting teachers, children, young people and parents. Webwise develops and disseminates resources that help teachers integrate digital citizenship and online safety into teaching and learning in their schools. Webwise also provides information, advice, and tools to parents to support their engagement in their children’s online lives. With the help of the Webwise Youth Advisory Panel, Webwise develops youth oriented awareness raising resources and training programmes that promote digital citizenship and address topics such as online wellbeing, cyber-bullying and more.
Hotline.ie (est. 1999) is Ireland’s primary national channel for members of the public to anonymously and confidentially report suspected illegal content online, especially child sexual abuse material and activities relating to the sexual exploitation of children such as child grooming. Since inception, Hotline.ie has been working in close collaboration with An Garda Síochána and online service providers to have child sexual abuse material swiftly removed from the Internet and ensure the children in the imagery may be identified and safeguarded.
ISPCC Childline: The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) operates the helpline (Childline), which provides a 24/7 active listening service across phone, text and online for any child or young person concerned about something they have encountered online, or other issues.
NPC Primary: the National Parents Council Primary operates the parent/adult helpline, a dedicated helpline to deal with issues relating to internet safety, including cyberbullying. The NPC also provides parents with training courses, both online and face to face.
Safer Internet Centres are national hubs established in Member States across Europe and in Iceland and Norway, which provide a suite of complementary essential services in synergy with the four pillars of the European Strategy for a Better Internet for Children (BIK Strategy), namely:
To learn more, read the BIK Strategy Implementation Report .
Safer Internet Centres are co-financed by the European Union under the Connecting Europe Facility Safer Internet Programme and usually offer three kinds of services: a national awareness centre, a helpline and a hotline.
Safer Internet Centres co-operate and exchange resources and best practices through the INSAFE-INHOPE network. For additional information, visit betterinternetforkids.eu which offers a repository of educational resources in all EU languages.
Irish Safer Internet Centre Public Report July 2021-June 2022
Irish Safer Internet Centre Public Report July 2021-June 2022
This international event takes place every February to promote safe and responsible use of the internet and mobile phone technologies, especially amongst children and young people.
Safer Internet Day is organised by the joint Insafe-INHOPE network with the support of the European Commission, with funding provided by the Connecting Europe Facility Programme.
The annual Irish national Safer Internet Day events are organised by Webwise.ie. For information on events and activities in Ireland to mark Safer Internet Day, please see www.saferinternetday.ie.
For details of European and worldwide events, please see www.saferinternetday.org.