Course Design and Delivery

Course Title: Content Filtering and Legal Implications within the EU

Enjoying working on course design and delivery while working with other people, is not a surprise to me. There is a relationship that is built when working collaboratively with someone to deliver a high-quality project, it is a bit like working with clients who really get that you are providing a skill set that they value.

Just recently I have been working with Edmund Sutcliffe at Considrd Consulting on a course called ‘Content Filtering and Legal Implications within the EU’ for GuruTeam. The course focused on filtering legal and illegal content and the legal and moral considerations that are involved with the use of..  these types of filtering technologies within organisations.

This piece of work was wonderful. I got to spend time researching the law within the EU, for Ireland and also for the UK because it is helpful to have a comparison country.

I love researching law and change what was interesting for me is how the law is changing dramatically around child safety on the internet and around content to do with imaged based sexual abuse content. Some countries seem to be moving forward with this kind of work quicker than others. It is worth keeping an eye on Germany, Ireland and the EU who seem to be at the forefront of this work.


I completely understand that organisations panic around illegal content online. In our experience organisations tend to worry more about illegal imaged based sexual abuse content, rather than the far more common types of illegal content like that which infringes intellectual property rights (IPR) or discloses personally identifiable information (PII).

The legal frameworks within the EU and individual countries are moving towards having criminal penalties that are directly applied to the bottom line of businesses. This has been known as part of the GDPR regulation and the appropriate protection of Personal Identifiable information, but is now expanding to areas such as Terrorist Content, where its fines are aligned with those around GDPR of 4% of turnover.

Incidentally, Ofcom have been put in charge of regulating internet content in the UK and are apparently able to fine up to 10% of annual turnover.

Appraising Content

Countries currently use the following 4 rules for content appraisal regarding law:

  1. Illegal
  2. Legal but harmful
  3. Legal 
  4. Not harmful

Legal but harmful content really needs to be considered by organisations as it fits into a grey area. The reason I summarise this as a “grey” area is because ‘harmful’ can just be about age appropriateness, or the far less obvious option of educational/research materials, for example, some chemical textbooks in the wrong hands can instruct people how to make dangerous compounds. This grey area extends to harmful communication too. The problem is that many of the EU member states and other countries don’t agree on what is harmful but legal. I suspect this is a grey area that we will increasingly hear about as laws are drawn up regarding security and internet content.

Free Speech

There is also a moral argument for organisations to consider too.  There are thin lines between censorship, free speech and legal but harmful communication. There is a danger of governmental bodies overreaching their powers with regard to content, it will be increasingly difficult for governments to define lines between free speech, censorship and what is ‘harmful’ communication.

Facebook and Twitter are already facing the fact that online safety and security laws are beginning to make them more responsible for the safety of their users. For example the UK’s Online Harms White Paper states in section 2.2 that companies will have to consider the ‘reasonably foreseeable risk of a significant adverse physical or psychological impact on individuals’

Our course ended up consisting of a 91 slide deck that has been delivered twice. It is adaptable and I can see how it will evolve to suit many school systems, Universities and other organisations that either run or support platforms online. Course design and delivery is becoming one of my favourite freelance activities.

GuruTeam Logo - Ireland based Course Design and Delivery company

If you are interested in doing this course then I am sure you can contact GuruTeam to run it again, if you are interested in working with me and Edmund on course design and delivery on any other topics get in contact.

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