Advances in fight against online child abuse at risk after Parliament resolution

Advances in fight against online child abuse at risk after Parliament resolution

In a resolution adopted in Plenary today, the European Parliament has missed an opportunity to confront the impending funding crisis faced by Hotlines dealing with child sexual abuse material (CSAM). These hotlines have played a key role in the effort to secure a safer Internet environment for children for many years.

Prior to the Parliament’s resolution on CSAM, EuroISPA circulated a letter to MEPs highlighting the crucial role of Hotlines and the perilous financial situation they face. As representative of national Hotlines in Austria, Germany, Ireland, and France, as well as over 2300 ISPs who actively work to remove CSAM on the Internet, EuroISPA is disappointed by the Parliament’s resolution.

Hotlines are essential to the “notice and action” mechanism, as they provide the means for members of the public to alert ISPs to the presence of suspected CSAM on the Internet. But in June 2016, the Commission funding that these Hotlines rely so heavily upon will cease, ushering in a new era of financial uncertainty. If that happens these gains will be reversed, significantly slowing report processing times and threatening the very existence of some Hotlines.

EuroISPA Safer Internet committee co-chair Paul Durrant said, “The Parliament resolution on CSAM can only be described as an opportunity missed. Unless EU policymakers confront the issue of funding for Hotlines very soon, we face a situation where the whole system of ‘takedown and action’ will be under threat”.

EuroISPA Safer Internet committee co-chair Carole Gay said, “Hotlines ensure that 98% of all user reports are forwarded to law enforcement agencies within one day. And in 91% of cases, illegal content is deleted within three days. To lose these great advances that we’ve made in the fight against CSAM would be a disaster”.

Photo credit: Niksnut (Flickr)