The European Commission has proposed a plan to combat child pornography

The European Commission has proposed a plan to combat child pornography

On Wednesday, the European Union’s executive arm proposed a plan that would oblige web platforms to detect and report the online distribution of child sex abuse photos.

The European Commission has proposed a plan to combat child pornography

The Commission feels that the current approach does not effectively protect children since many companies do not perform the necessary identification process.

The law, which must be approved by member countries and the EU Parliament, would make it mandatory for businesses operating in the EU to detect.

The number of reports of online child sexual abuse in the EU has risen from 23,000 in 2010 to over 1 million in 2020. During the COVID-19 epidemic, the international police agency Interpol also noticed a spike in the online sharing of obscene sexual photos of youngsters.

“These reports are instrumental to starting investigations and rescuing children from ongoing abuse in real time,” she added. “Detection, reporting and removal of child sexual abuse online is also urgently needed to prevent the sharing of images and videos of the sexual abuse of children, which retraumatizes the victims often years after the sexual abuse has ended.”

A similar increase has been noticed globally, with reports of child abuse on the internet rising from 1 million to almost 22 million during 2014-2020 and over 65 million images and videos of children being sexually abused identified.

In practice, providers will have to assess the risk that their services are misused to spread child pornography material or for grooming, and should propose risk mitigation measures. If the competent authorities in EU countries find there is a risk of abuse after reviewing the risk assessment, they will be able to ask a court to issue a detection order.

The EU Commission is adamant that the new rule would offer strong safeguards for the respect of privacy and personal data, although critics have said the proposal could allow companies to spy on users.

The Commission said that any review would take place anonymously and that steps to identify users would only be taken in the event that potential child abuse has been identified. In addition, the technology used would allow the extraction of any information other than that necessary to detect the abuse. To help providers better identify abuse, the Commission proposed the creation of an EU Center on Child Sexual Abuse acting as a “hub of expertise.” It would be similar to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a U.S. nonprofit reference center which helps families and exploited victims.

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