European Commission Issues Temporary Rules to Allow Companies to Continue Removal of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material

BY Heather Greenfield
September 10, 2020

Brussels, BELGIUM — The European Commission published a proposed Regulation today allowing online communications providers to continue to detect and remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from their services. 

This proposal is designed to make up for an unintended consequence of the existing e-Privacy Directive, which will apply to online messaging services as of 21 December 2020. With today’s proposal, the European Commission seeks to offer a temporary solution to reconcile two important policy objectives: the confidentiality of communications and child safety.  

Computer & Communications Industry Association members are unreservedly committed to the fight against CSAM online. In 2019, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline received 16.9 million reports, of which most tips came from electronic service providers. Hindering online service providers’ efforts to continue to detect CSAM would have detrimental consequences for the prevention and prosecution of these severe crimes.

The proposed Regulation would apply until 31 December 2025. It is important that this regulation allows online communication providers the ability to evolve and adapt new technologies to identify previously undetected CSAM and online child sexual exploitation while balancing the confidentiality of people’s communications. 

The following can be attributed to Alexandre Roure, CCIA Senior Public Policy Manager: 

“The tech industry’s commitment to fight against child sexual abuse material online can only be fulfilled if companies are allowed to do so. We welcome efforts to ensure that communications service providers can continue to detect and remove nefarious material in the least intrusive way. We stand ready to offer suggestions and technical expertise to EU lawmakers in their important work.”

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

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