EU Commission to Force Companies to Combat Child Pornography

Daniel Attoe
Daniel Attoe

Updated · May 12, 2022

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The EU Commission announced its new proposals on Wednesday.

New CSAM Regulations

Google, Meta, and other online service providers will be forced to detect and remove online child sex abuse images. The newly drafted rules by the European Union Commission have attracted scrutiny for their potential violation of privacy concerns.

The European Union’s executive arm said on Wednesday that this will replace the current system of voluntary detection and reporting. It believes that this has proved ineffective as many companies fail to properly identify and report cases.

“The proposed rules introduce an obligation for relevant online service providers to assess the risk of abuse of their services for the dissemination of child sexual material or for grooming,” it said in a statement.

There were more than one million reports of child sexual abuse across the 27 member countries of the EU in 2020. The next year, the figures grew by 64%. According to the drafted proposal, EU servers host 60% of all child abuse material globally. 

Major service providers will have to conduct risk assessments and apply “reasonable mitigation measures”.

The new regulation will require endorsement from both member countries and the EU Parliament before enforcement.

Failure to comply with the rules will attract up to 6% of a company’s annual income or global turnover.

Privacy Concerns

Advocates and stakeholders have raised concerns over internet privacy if the new rules are enforced.

“The European Commission is opening the door for a vast range of authoritarian surveillance tactics,” said the European Digital Rights group. “Once these methods are out there, what’s stopping governments from forcing companies to scan for evidence of dissidence or political opposition tomorrow?”

WhatsApp head Will Cathcart mirrored the same view, saying that the rules will violate end-to-end encryption.

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Daniel Attoe

Daniel Attoe

Daniel is an Economics grad who fell in love with tech. His love for books and reading pushed him into picking up the pen - and keyboard. Also a data analyst, he's taking that leap into data science and machine learning. When not writing or studying, chances are that you'll catch him watching football or face-deep in an epic fantasy novel.

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