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EU Commission plans to force web firms to combat child sex abuse images

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

The European Commission building in Brussels.
The European Commission building in Brussels.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has proposed new rules to force online service providers to detect, report and remove child sex abuse images from their networks.

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

“We are failing to protect children today,” EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson warned.

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 are attempting 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.

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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.

© AFP 2022 

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