Stricter Rules to Combat Online Child Pornography

On November 22, 2023, EU lawmakers reached an agreement to draft stringent regulations obligating tech giants like Alphabet’s Google and Meta to identify and eliminate online child pornography. Notably, Pakistan boasts a substantial number of social media users, signifying a potentially positive impact on child protection within the country. The proposed rules, focusing on combatting child sexual abuse material (CSAM), have been a point of contention, navigating the delicate balance between enhancing online safety and preserving user privacy under end-to-end encryption.

Proposed by the European Commission in response to the inadequacy of the current voluntary reporting system by tech firms in safeguarding children, the CSAM legislation intends to mandate reporting and removal of known and new CSAM instances, along with grooming cases, by messaging services, app stores, and internet access providers. Additionally, an EU Centre on Child Sexual Abuse is slated to be established to centralize expertise and facilitate reports to law enforcement agencies.

To address concerns about potential mass surveillance, lawmakers have enhanced detection orders, allowing judicial authorization for time-limited orders to locate and delete CSAM. However, such orders are conditional upon reasonable suspicion of child sexual abuse. Moreover, companies will have autonomy in choosing detection technologies, subject to independent public audits.

Notably, the exclusion of end-to-end encryption from the draft rules garnered praise from privacy activists. The European Liberal Youth (LYMEC) applauded the European Parliament’s stance, advocating for targeted surveillance under judicial warrants, emphasizing that it eliminates indiscriminate chat control. This balance between targeted surveillance and stringent privacy safeguards is poised to shape the forthcoming legislation, expected to undergo further deliberation with member states before potential enactment next year.

Acknowledgement: The original news was published by Daily Tribune on 23rd November 2023

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