Friday

23rd Jun 2017

EU wants to block child pornography sites

The EU commission on Monday (29 March) proposed that access to internet sites offering child pornography images and videos be blocked in all member states.

"Child pornography is a horrible crime. It is not an expression of freedom of speech," EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said during a press briefing in Brussels.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The EU commission wants to pull the plug on child porn sites (Photo: Flickr)

"If police can confiscate leaflets, books, and videos with child pornography, it should also be able to shut down sites. The internet is not a safe haven for criminals," she argued.

Under the proposal, systems would be developed by member states to block access to such sites. Agreements with internet providers should also be encouraged, and users should be notified as to why access was blocked.

Such systems are already in place in Scandinavian countries, Italy and Great Britain and "stop thousands of requests each day," Ms Malmstrom said.

The proposal also calls for criminal prosecution of activities such as 'grooming', where adults pretend to become friends with children in order to sexually abuse them, and sex tourism, even if the child abuse has taken place outside the EU.

Also, children's rights would be protected, for instance by allowing video testimonies in court so as not to traumatise them further with testifying in front of an adult jury about their experiences.

Blocking sites at the source is preferable, she added, but this is a more difficult task, given that sites are often based outside the EU or have scrambling devices altering their traceable location several times a day.

The Swedish politician stressed that she personally guarantees this measure would only apply to access to child pornography sites and not to other purposes, restricting the users' freedom and rights.

She admitted that some computer-savvy users would be able to circumvent the blockades, but "most people are not experts," including paedophiles. Also, the "preventive element" should not be underestimated.

The proposal needs the approval of both the member states and the European Parliament. But already German justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said she would oppose the move and opt for erasing such sites instead of blocking access to them.

"The German government rejects internet blockades. They don't represent an effective means in fighting child pornography, while instead leading to greater mistrust on the part of internet users," the minister told the Hamburger Abendblatt.

Parents of EU children win right to stay

Countries cannot automatically refuse residence to parents of EU children simply because the other parent could care for the minor, the EU's top court ruled on Wednesday.

EU parliament shelves NGO funding proposal

The report, which aimed to improve scrutiny on the EU's financing of civil society, was postponed after Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban, compared it to a controversial Hungarian bill.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel and Macron hold symbolic joint press conference
  2. Juncker has 'no' clear idea of kind of Brexit UK wants
  3. Belgian PM calls May's proposal on EU citizens 'vague'
  4. UK lacks support of EU countries in UN vote
  5. Spain to command anti-smuggler Mediterranean force
  6. Estonia confirms opposition to Nord Stream 2 pipeline
  7. Ireland and Denmark outside EU military plan
  8. EU leaders renew vows to uphold Paris climate deal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  2. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  3. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  4. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  5. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  6. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  7. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  8. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million
  9. EUSEW17Bringing Buildings Into the Circular Economy. Discuss at EU Sustainable Energy Week
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan an Ideal Body Weight Lead to Premature Death?
  11. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Charges: What Does It Entail?
  12. World VisionWorld Refugee Day, a Dark Reminder of the Reality of Children on the Move

Latest News

  1. Macron’s investment screening idea watered down by leaders
  2. Leaders unimpressed by May’s offer to EU citizens
  3. New Irish PM praises unscripted nature of EU summits
  4. EU extends sanctions on Russia
  5. UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'
  6. Decision on post-Brexit home for EU agencies postponed
  7. May's offer on citizens’ rights dismissed as ‘pathetic’
  8. 'Historic' defence plan gets launch date at EU summit