Brussels, BELGIUM – Legislation to combat and prevent child sexual abuse (CSA) proposed by the European Commission has an important role to play in protecting children in Europe and beyond. The CSA Regulation puts forward new obligations for online service providers to detect, remove and report child sexual abuse material (CSAM), as well as the grooming of children.
In its new position paper, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA Europe) advises EU policy makers to make further improvements to the proposal. This includes ensuring that the new rules respect the EU ban on general monitoring and safeguard the privacy of Europeans, without undermining the encryption of data traffic. Innovation should also be allowed to facilitate the development of future-proof tools to detect and report CSAM.
These new EU obligations would apply to a wide range of providers, including software application stores, but the most stringent measures – such as the scanning and monitoring of private messages and user-generated content – would be imposed on providers of social media, cloud, and messaging services.
Civil society and privacy experts have voiced concerns about the Regulation, as they fear it would establish a surveillance system putting the privacy of Europeans at risk. Indeed, the Regulation needs to clarify how scanning and filtering obligations would be consistent with the EU-wide ban on general monitoring recently introduced by the Digital Services Act.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe’s Vice President and Head of Office, Christian Borggreen:
“The tech industry is actively fighting the dissemination of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). CCIA Members have already developed a wide range of solutions to disrupt the online exchange of CSAM and prevent the exploitation of children.”
“The CSA Regulation proposed by the European Commission has the potential to complement existing frameworks and help to better protect children. Nevertheless, these new rules should not undermine the fundamental rights of Europeans, such as their privacy.”
“Perpetrators will not stop trying to find new ways to game the system and misuse digital tools. That is also why the CSA proposal should not prescribe the use of specific technologies or methods that are around today, which would halt the future development and use of new innovative tools to combat CSAM.”
“Digital service providers are committed to the fight against child sexual abuse and stand ready to work with EU decision makers to develop effective, proportionate, and workable rules.”