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PRESS RELEASE: EuroISPA voices concerns regarding CSAM proposal’s impact on user privacy

Brussels, 18 May 2022EuroISPA, the pan-European association of Internet Services Providers Associations, highlights concern about privacy, freedom of speech, and overbearing obligations in relation to the recently proposed Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.  

Alexandra Laffitte, President of EuroISPA, noted: “Our members share the view that obligations in relation to detecting, reporting, removing, and blocking of content in this proposal raise questions about intrusion into user privacy and potential surveillance by authorities or malicious actors, as well as about operational viability. Furthermore, in order to ensure consistency across the ecosystem and a proper balance with regards to fundamental rights and freedoms, the proposal needs to be aligned with the DSA and the GDPR. This is particularly important with regards to principles such as non-general monitoring and the confidentiality of electronic communications. Encryption tools are part of the framework which allows Internet and online services to be trusted and ensure ongoing cybersecurity and data protection. The weakening of end-to-end encryption would damage the economy as well as damaging efforts to create an Internet which enhances trust, user privacy, and freedom of expression”. 

EuroISPA represents Internet Services Providers (ISPs) across the European continent, creating a common voice aiming to promote and protect the interests of its members whilst working towards a safer Internet for all.  

Within EuroISPA, the Safer Internet Committee aims to contribute to the shaping of policies on child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online and cooperates with law enforcement authorities by sharing practical experience and infrastructure control. Several EuroISPA members also manage national level hotlines which contribute to the tackling of illegal content online.  

“This proposal puts forward a new approach to combatting child sexual abuse, a crucial issue that we have been dedicated to for many years. However, it is important to note that the proposal only focuses on the Internet ecosystem, without considering and supporting the existing local-level schemes which have proven their efficiency in fighting and preventing child sexual abuse. EuroISPA is analysing the text in detail to ensure that the future framework will effectively help prevent child sexual abuse, and that the obligations on intermediaries do not have a burdensome effect on smaller players in the sector, as SMEs are at the core of EuroISPA’s membership and play a vital role in the Internet sector as a whole. We hope our voice and the voices of fellow industry players will be taken into account as discussions continue about the proposal, in order to protect all the fundamental rights of users whilst tackling the very real concern of CSAM online at an operational level,” added Asko Metsola, Chair of EuroISPA’s Safer Internet Committee. 

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