ISPA Conference 2008 – What Matters to You


The 2008 ISPA Conference, 'What Matters to You', was held at the London offices of ISPA Legal Forum member Eversheds on Monday 3rdNovember.  The all day-event was kindly sponsored by F-SecureSentry Parental Controls and We7.

The Conference addressed some of the most pertinent challenges currently facing the Internet industry.  The event began with an introduction from ISPA Secretary General, Nicholas Lansman.

This was followed by a keynote address from Derek Wyatt MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Communications Group, who touched on a number of issues.  During his speech, My Wyatt highlighted the importance of world Internet governance, such as the upcoming IGF in Hyderabad, in tackling global Internet issues. There were further discussions about the lack of interest in Internet matters amongst Parliamentarians.

The first panel session of the day looked at the newly formed UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).  The panel consisted of four members of the Council’s Executive Board: Camille de Stempel from AOL Europe, Peter Robbins from the IWF, Rachel Clark from BERR and children’s charities representative John Carr.  The discussions centred on the governance of the UKCCIS and what its priorities should be.  Whilst acknowledging that the Council hadn’t yet met and that panellists’ comments were restricted accordingly, panellists did agree that a partnership approach was key to the success of the Council.  Questions from the audience focused on whether the recommendations of the Byron Review had pre-empted the decisions of the Executive Board and queried the level of Government funding for public awareness and education.

The second session discussed the Interception Modernisation Programme. The session began with an informative presentation on the background to the IMP by the programme Director Tim Hayward.  Following the presentation, Mr Hayward was joined on the panel by Dr Richard Clayton from the University of Cambridge and ISPA Council member, Clive Feather, from Thus.  The discussions focused on what the purpose of the programme, the work to date and the importance in continued stakeholder consultation. The panel and audience speculated on what might be contained in the forthcoming Government consultation on this subject. There was further discussion on the likely technical and operational impact on ISPs, with concerns raised about which Government agencies would have access to retained data.

Following a hearty lunch, Feargal Sharkey, Chief Executive of the recently formed UK Music spoke passionately about cooperation between the music industry and ISPs to create new business models and revenue streams from content.  Mr Sharkey invited ISPA members to discussions with UK Music members, to be facilitated by the two associations. The speech was followed by a panel session with Mr Sharkey being joined by ISPA Council member Trefor Davies from Timico, Steve Purdham from We7 and Jeremy Olivier from Ofcom. The panel considered a number of different business models that could provide revenue for ISPs and rights holders, whilst ensuring that consumers could access the legal services that they want. Panel members and the audience gave an optimistic impression of the future in this area with some people revealing that new models of content distribution were imminent. All stakeholders present urged increased cooperation between the industries to continue the progress that was being made.

The final session of the day was an open session where panellists and audience members where able to raise and debate issues not covered during the day. This session was organised as a direct response to feedback from previous years that the Conference had not offered ample opportunities to discuss all issues. The panel was made up of IWF CEO Peter Robbins, academic Dr Richard Clayton and ISPA Council member James Blessing of Karou and chaired by ISPA Public Affairs Manager Ian Clarke . The discussions ranged across a number of issues including a debate on whether recent developments with regards to deep packet inspection had implications to the ISP’s liability and mere conduit defence. There was an interesting discussion about the problems of dealing with inappropriate as opposed to illegal content. Peter Robbins provided clarity over the possible role that it might take in providing a notice and takedown service for extreme pornography. Ofcom’s involvement in broadband performance monitoring and the issue of privacy and behavioural advertising were also discussed.

ISPA would like to thank all speakers, panellists, sponsors and the hosts Eversheds for contributing to the success of the day. We hope that all attendees found the Conference useful and interesting, and look forward to welcoming you all again next year.

Please contact if you have any questions or would like any further information about the ISPA Conference.