Internet Content Rating Association
David Kerr was appointed as the first Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation in October 1996 and has built and developed the organisation from the original agreement between the UK Internet industry, government and police.
The Internet Watch Foundation was formed to implement key aspects of the "SafetyNet Agreement" between UK Government Departments, Police and the two UK Internet Service Provider Associations (ISPA and LINX). Its two major roles have been to set up and operate a "hotline" reporting and action system for illegal material on the Internet and to promote the use of rating and filtering systems for legal material.
Considerable progress has been made on both these fronts. A hotline system has been in full operation for over 2 years and receives a growing flow of reports. UK ISPs are removing illegal material from their servers when it is reported to them and information is passed to the police for investigation and action where appropriate.
Production of a proposed rating system suitable for UK use is well advanced and includes a clear recognition of the need for such a system to reach out to Europe and the rest of the world. A European consortium - INCORE - has been formed to develop a practical approach to content rating in Europe working under contract to the European Commission. International co-ordination was fostered through the formation of anInternational Working Group on Content Rating (IWGCR), which met regularly by E-mail and telephone conferences, and physically on a quarterly basis. Its successor to develop and implement a global system - the Internet Content Rating Alliance (ICRA) - launched a major international consultation exercise from Ottawa on 7th October 1998. In Ottawa David's presentation to a plenary session of the OECD Ministerial Conference on E-commerce, about the need for a co-ordinated international approach to rating and filtering, was well received.
David Kerr was appointed as Chief Executive of IWF (initially on secondment from Cambridgeshire County Council) at the outset to set up and run the organisation. He has extensive experience of policy review and management consultancy in local government having spent four years with the London Borough of Camden, ending as Management Services Team Leader, and over twenty years with Cambridgeshire County Council, ending as Head of Policy Support. This experience has included major reviews of policy, organisation structure, management systems and performance management in public services.
Unusually for a local government officer, he also has private sector experience (in the aircraft industry in the UK and the manufacturing sector in New Zealand) and qualifications (Executive MBA from Cranfield University).
In recent years he has been involved in developing partnerships between public and private sector organisations to address issues such as race relations and rural services. This experience made him an ideal candidate for establishing the Internet Watch Foundation, to implement the agreements reached between the DTI, Home Office, Police and Internet Service Provider Associations in 1996.
David says he has been learning ever since his appointment - about the technology, the industry, the law, the police and, most of all, the politics around the Net - and still has a lot to learn!
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