Monday

27th Mar 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.

MEPs set out to give posted workers equal pay

A revision of the posted workers directive aims to make the single market fairer, but critics see efforts to root out "social dumping" as disguised protectionism.

Dutch plan global fund for safe abortion

The Dutch want to lead efforts to make up the shortfall in aid for safe abortions around the world, after Donald Trump announced the US would not fund such projects.

EU to tighten rules on social benefits

EU citizens working away from their home countries will face tougher hurdles if they need to claim benefits, under plans from the commission.

Column / Health Matters

The yin and yang of Chinese medicine

Can traditional Chinese medicine help the modern European patient? Malta thinks so, in a new agreement with China.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  2. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  3. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  4. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  5. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  6. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  7. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  9. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans
  10. MEP Tomáš ZdechovskýThe European Commission Has Failed in Its Fight Against Food Waste
  11. ILGA-EuropeEP Recognises Discrimination Faced by Trans & Intersex People
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers25 Nordic Bioeconomy Cases for Sustainable Change