Who we are
Hotline.ie is the Irish national reporting centre where members of the public can securely, anonymously, and confidentially report concerns in respect of illegal content online, especially child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The removal of child sexual abuse images and videos from the Internet is the core of our work.
The hotline web-reporting service was launched in November 1999, to fulfil one of the Irish Government Working Group on the Illegal and Harmful Use of the Internet (1998) key recommendations.
Hotline.ie provides a vital service, part of a wider national ecosystem for combatting child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation, which involves Government, law enforcement, children’s services, child welfare NGOs, the judicial system and the Internet Industry (online service providers).
Since inception Hotline.ie’s operations and procedures have been agreed and overseen by the Department of Justice and Equality. We operate in conjunction with An Garda Síochána, and in cooperation with our Members. The Hotline.ie Code of Practice outlines the framework for collaboration between Hotline.ie, our Members and law enforcement for the purpose of countering illegal content online, especially CSAM. It also sets out Minimum Requirements for participating companies and details the CSAM Notice and Takedown procedure, roles and responsibilities. All our Members abide by the Hotline.ie Code of Practice and comply with our Notice and Takedown requests for the swift removal of CSAM from the Internet.
In Ireland, the activities of Hotline.ie and An Garda Síochána CSAM blocking initiative together fulfil Article 25 of the Directive 2011/93/EU on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, whilst the Department of Justice and Equality oversees these activities. The remainder of the Directive has been transposed into Irish law.
Recognising that child sexual abuse is a transnational crime coupled with the global nature of the Internet, to ensure decisive action and international reach against CSAM online, Hotline.ie is a founder member of the International Association of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE), which brings together 46 other hotlines in 42 countries worldwide. INHOPE provides a forum where we can exchange information and expertise on matters such as content assessment best practice, occupational health and safety for hotline staff, and standardised reporting of statistics. INHOPE also provides training and quality assurance across the network of hotlines. Hotline.ie also abides by the INHOPE Code of Practice.
Hotline.ie is an integrated part of the Irish Safer Internet Centre alongside Webwise, ISPCC Childline and NPC, partnership appointed by the European Union in 2008. The Irish Safer Internet Centre is part of the INSAFE network which unites 30 such Centres across Europe.
Hotline.ie is also a member of the National Advisory Council for Online Safety (NACOS), a forum of non-governmental, Industry and academic stakeholders, setup to provide advice to Government on online safety issues, to identify emerging issues where Government intervention might be required, and to examine national and international research and communicate key findings to Government, stakeholders and the wider public.
Our work is co-financed by the European Union through grant aid under the Connecting Europe Facility programme and by our Members.
We are governed by a Board of 6 Directors and Officers, which includes President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary and two Officers without Portfolio. The President leads the Board in keeping with the organisation’s vision, mission, and strategic planning goals, whilst the Board monitors, reviews and directs Hotline.ie strategy, policy and budget to help us achieve our objectives and deliver the highest standards of service. The Board is not entitled to remuneration. The Board is supported by an Executive Team led by the Chief Executive and tasked with the day-to-day running of the organisation.
Our governance arrangements are strengthened by a regular cycle of Board meetings and Executive meetings. Additionally, there is an ongoing consultation process with our Members and other relevant stakeholders which fosters preparedness in respect of the ever evolving political, economic, socio-cultural and technological environment. We will continue to review our governance, partnerships, and make it a priority to improve same.