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European Commission stands up for children on the Internet

12-5-2022 |

Figures that are horrifying. Last year alone, 85 million photos and videos of pornographic scenes involving children were detected worldwide.

To combat this phenomenon, which has only expanded in the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has presented its proposals for stricter legislation. They stressed the particular importance and necessity of taking action.

Ilva Johansson, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs:

"The number of signals, which are in one way or another related to the EU, about content with child sexual abuse scenes has increased by 6,000% in the last 10 years. 90% of such content is hosted in the European Union."

In particular, the Commission proposes to make the detection of such content mandatory for Internet providers and digital platforms.

Thus, they will have to control the risks of misuse of their services.

Companies would be obliged to identify such materials and report them to the new European Centre for Combating Sexual Abuse of Minors. The content will have to be removed as soon as possible and permanently.

Children's rights organizations have supported the initiative.

Niels van Paemel, Child focus policy consultant:

"We live in a time and age where children are being connected to the Internet at an increasingly young age. This is what we are seeing in Belgium. But, in fact, it is happening all over the world. In four years, the average age of first-time smartphone owners has dropped from 12 to 8. The age factor has a huge impact on how children use the Internet and their ability to avoid risky behavior.”

But ISPs and Internet companies are now concerned about privacy. They argue that users are unlikely to appreciate increased surveillance.

The European Commission calls for the most unobtrusive methods and the least intrusive monitoring tools.