Revised Legislation Aims to Safeguard Children from Online Risks

Negotiators in the European Parliament have just taken a big step in deciding how online platforms should deal with the issue of child sexual abuse. Last year, the European Commission put forth a proposal, but it caused quite a stir. People were worried it might force these platforms to scan our private messages. This had a lot of folks concerned because it could potentially violate some EU rules that say no to widespread online snooping.

Legal experts, privacy advocates, and many others didn't like the idea of scanning private chats, saying it could be a threat to our basic rights. Kids could end up even more vulnerable. But guess what? The MEPs (that's Members of the European Parliament) have been working hard to come up with a different approach.

At a recent press conference, the key people in the parliament, including the main spokesperson and their colleagues, unveiled a new version of the law. They've agreed to make scanning more focused. They want to limit it to individuals or groups that are suspected of being involved in child sexual abuse. They're also focusing on finding known and unknown child sexual abuse material (CSAM) while leaving out the need to scan for grooming. Most importantly, they're not going to bother with platforms that use end-to-end encryption (E2EE), so you don't have to worry about them messing with your private stuff.

Javier Zarzalejos, the main spokesperson, summed it up nicely: they're taking a comprehensive approach to fight child sexual abuse online. No massive scanning, no general monitoring, no peeking into private conversations, and definitely no weakening of encryption. They're also making sure there are no shortcuts – they'll only issue a detection order if the platform doesn't do what the law asks.

To protect kids, they're pushing for some rules, like making profiles private by default and asking for your permission before anyone can send you messages or show you images. Plus, they're making it a must for hosting services to remove CSAM, not just tell victims about it. Law enforcement is also getting involved in getting rid of CSAM from the internet.

This revised law aims to put the rights of victims first, without messing with everyone's freedom of expression, privacy, and security. The parliament is sending a strong message to the European Council and the Commission.

The next steps are committee votes and a full parliament vote. The Council, made up of representatives from EU Member States, still needs to make up its mind. The final law depends on these talks.

So, the parliament is basically saying to the Council and the Commission, "Come on, let's make the internet safer for kids." Time's ticking, with a temporary rule allowing platforms to scan non-E2EE messages running out soon and EU elections on the horizon.

In a nutshell, the MEPs are trying to strike a balance between keeping kids safe and respecting our rights online. They're working together to make the internet a safer place for all of us.

Photo: DIW

H/T: Bankinfosecurity

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