Europe: Commission unveils law to fight child sexual abuse online amid swelling privacy fears

Source: 5/11/23

The European Commission on Wednesday proposed a law to force digital companies to find, report and remove online child sexual abuse material circulating on their platforms.

As reported by POLITICO, Google, Apple, and Meta’s WhatsApp and Instagram could be faced with court orders to hunt down photos and videos of child abuse or else face hefty fines of up to 6 percent of their global revenue. Companies would also have to clamp down on grooming — conversations where offenders try to inappropriately connect with children.

The proposals come as child sexual abuse has spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. Eighty-five million such videos and images were produced last year, according to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Yet the scale of the problem is likely to be underestimated. Up to 95 percent of the content was voluntarily reported by one company.

“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,” said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

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“Google, Apple, and Meta’s WhatsApp and Instagram could be faced with court orders to hunt down photos and videos of child abuse or else face hefty fines of up to 6 percent of their global revenue

seems now they have an incentive to stop the spread.

The fly in the ointment is that Google, Apple, and Meta are not based in Europe, meaning in all likelihood the European Commission wouldn’t have jurisdiction or the means to enforce whatever fines they want to assess.

Many overlook that the European Union is largely symbolic. While its member nations mostly adopt its policies and recommendations, they are essentially powerless to do anything about those that don’t at any given time. Example: Great Brittain’s refusal to adopt the Euro.

This is last years news. Either way, I don’t see it happening since getting individual EU countries to do something is like herding cats. But I give them credit for actually going after the platforms that put cp out there, instead of just focusing on the demand side like the US does thru throwing people in prison for decades just for viewing the stuff. In hopes of making an example out of a few individuals to discourage the other 100s of thousands. But off course we know that strategy doesn’t work.