Apple snubs government's invite to join child internet safety council

Apple: snubs government's call to join council
Apple: snubs government's call to join council

Apple has rejected an invitation from Children's Minister Ed Timpson to join the Department for Education (DfE) council that is tasked with keeping children safe online.

The DfE has released to Marketing a letter sent to Apple lobbyist Claire Thwaites on 19 March that revealed Timpson’s disappointment at Apple’s decision not to join the executive board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).

Timpson’s letter to Apple also reveals the company once again refused government requests to provide more prominent parental controls on its devices.

Timpson wrote: "I am disappointed that Apple regards the idea of promoting parental controls in the set-up screens on devices as something that would reduce the Apple user experience.

"This would be a perfect opportunity for Apple to take a prominent and exemplary lead, and I would urge you to keep this under active consideration".

Apple’s refusal to join the child internet safety board comes after it ignored government pleas for installing greater parental controls on its devices during a meeting with Tim Loughton, the former children’s minister, in July 2012.

The DfE arranged a subsequent meeting with Apple on 12 February 2013 to exert more pressure on the tech giant, but the DfE initially refused to divulge details of the meeting despite an FOI request from Marketing.

However, the DfE has now decided to divulge the letter sent to Apple following the meeting, after Marketing requested an internal review into its decision to withhold the letter it sent after destroying the notes from the meeting.

Loughton told The Sunday People that he was "baffled" the minutes from the meeting were destroyed and added it is "worrying" proper records are not being kept considering the importance the government is now placing on child internet safety.

Apple’s decision not to join the UKCCIS board comes despite US tech giants including Facebook and Microsoft accepting positions on the board.

However, it is understood Apple does still take part in UKCCIS' working groups on parental controls and is involved in the CEO Coalition that EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes established to make the internet safer for kids.

Timpson also sent a copy of the letter to Claire Perry MP and told Apple that Talk Talk chief executive Dido Harding had come up with some "good ideas on a green cross code for e-safety".

Perry was appointed by David Cameron to advise him on "preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood". Harding is married to Conservative MP John Penrose and has been praised by Cameron for her company’s efforts to install parental controls.

Cameron and Perry’s efforts to protect children online have been criticised in some quarters because filters have inadvertently blocked sex education, rape crisis and domestic abuse helpline sites, and even Perry’s personal website.

An Apple spokesman said: "For many years, Apple has implemented industry-leading, innovative settings and controls that enable parents to protect their children while using Apple products and we will continue to innovate in this area."

Apple’s new operating system iOS 7 has seen a ‘Kids’ category added to its App Store, which allows teachers and parents to find child-friendly apps.

These apps must have a privacy policy, are barred from using behavioural advertising and need parental permission before allowing the user to leave the app or buy anything. 

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers