Brussels proposed new rules to force web firms fight against child porn

Brussels proposed new rules to force web firms fight against child porn

The European Commission proposed new rules on Wednesday to force online service providers to detect, report and remove child pornography from their networks.

The plan calls for a European centre to combat child sexual abuse, based in The Hague and working with the EU police agency Europol.

“We are failing to protect children today,”

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson warned.

CHILD PORN

In 2021, 85 million videos and photos involving abused minors were reported, according to data from the US Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

“And that’s just the tip of the iceberg,”

Johansson said.

As many as 95% of reports of illegal content involving child sexual abuse come from Facebook’s social network and messenger system, but the problem is not limited to a single platform, the European Commission says.

Currently, internet service providers attempt to control the spread of paedophile content on a voluntary basis. But Brussels now wants them to be more proactive in hunting out harmful content rather than investigating complaints.

NEW RULES FOR WEB FIRMS

The new rules will operate in parallel and in support of the regulation strategy in the EU’s Digital Services Act, which will introduce big fines for firms that fail to act on illegal content.

CCIA, a lobby group representing US tech giants, said in a statement “we look forward to working with EU lawmakers to develop effective and workable rules” around the commission’s proposal.

It said the tech industry was committed to fighting material containing child sexual abuse.

But a CCIA senior manager, Victoria de Posson, said: “We hope the new obligations will be technology-neutral, respect the EU ban on general monitoring, and not undermine encryption.”

The commission insists its proposal will be “technology neutral”, meaning there won’t be prescribed technological tools, only a demand that the platforms produce the desired results.

Johansson said that, while she expected major lobbying from tech companies to modify the measures, she believed the majority of the European public would back them.

© Agence France-Presse

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