EU Lawmakers condemn EU plans to curb child sexual abuse online

The law would make it compulsory for social media platforms to scan private encrypted chats on social media platforms for certain identifiers.

EU Lawmakers condemn EU plans to curb child sexual abuse online

Eu lawmakers condemn eu plans to curb child sexual abuse onlineLawmakers from across the European Union have called on member states to vote against plans by the bloc’s executive to require tech companies to monitor their platforms for child sexual abuse content.

The 36 lawmakers cited data security concerns in their distress calls.

In an open letter made available to dpa, the politicians said they were convinced the proposed measures were incompatible with EU basic rights.

The European Commission in 2022 presented the proposed Regulation to Prevent and Combat Child Sexual Abuse, designed to curb the spread of material showing the sexual abuse of children.

The law would make it compulsory for social media platforms to scan private encrypted chats on social media platforms for certain identifiers of child sexual abuse.

According to them, this might flag child grooming or the sharing of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), and to report any suspicious activity involving child sexual abuse.

Under current law, this monitoring of online activity is voluntary.

Critics have slammed the proposed measure as “chat control.”

They saw it as an attempt to scan all online communication, including encrypted messages, raising fears of mass surveillance.

EU member states representatives are expected to discuss the issue on Wednesday.

The open letter calling on members to vote against the proposal was signed by lawmakers from national parliaments as well as the European Parliament.

This includes monitoring from Germany and Austria.

In the letter, the lawmakers call for the protection of the right to anonymous and pseudonymous use of the internet as well as for a strengthening of end-to-end encryption.

In order to effectively combat child sexual abuse, more resources and targeted coordination among European law enforcement authorities are needed, they said.

“Instead of effectively protecting children from sexualised violence online, the compromise draft continues to massively encroach on the protection of everyone’s digital privacy,” co-initiator Tobias Bacherle, a lawmaker for the German Green Party said.

 

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse occurs when a child experiences sexual advances or contact from an adult or another minor. Child sexual abuse may occur in any of the following ways:

  • Asking a child to strip in front of you
  • Masturbating in front of a child
  • Touching a child’s genitals or private areas
  • Inappropriately touching a child.
  • Watching, looking at, or possessing child pornography
  • Watching pornography with a child
  • Penetrating a child with a finger, penis, or object.
  • Forcing a child to touch himself in front of you or on camera
  • Taking naked photos or videos of a child