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We must protect children against online sexual abuse while preserving fundamental rights


08 Dec 2020


Justice & Home Affairs

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament are working to protect children against sexual abuse with exemptions to specific facets of EU privacy rules for providers, while introducing additional safeguards. Today’s vote in the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee is a step forward in ensuring that providers can continue the job of detecting and removing online child sexual abuse material.

The report also seeks to introduce important safeguards, such as prior mandatory data protection assessments and human overview of any data being processed, to ensure the protection of children online against sexual abuse is not done at the expense of fundamental rights.

The European Commission is expected to present proposals for a permanent legislative framework on the use of scanning technologies in 2021.

Birgit Sippel MEP, S&D rapporteur and co-ordinator of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:

“Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime and we have to get better at preventing it, in prosecuting offenders and in supporting survivors. This includes doing what we can to prevent the dissemination of online child sexual abuse material, while at the same time respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights.

“While it is only an interim solution, today’s vote seeks to ensure we protect children while at the same time preserving fundamental rights and the rule of law. The protection of privacy is a fundamental right and a prerequisite for protecting children, for example when it comes to communication between a victim of abuse and their doctor or their lawyer.

“On these issues I am ready to start negotiations with the Council as soon as possible in order to find legally sound solutions that work for everyone and will stand the test of the courts.” 



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