On February 11, 2021, the European Commission launched a public consultation on its initiative to fight child sexual abuse online (the “Initiative”), which aims to impose obligations on online service providers to detect child sexual abuse online and to report it to public authorities. The consultation is part of the data collection activities announced in the Initiative’s inception impact assessment issued in December last year. The consultation runs until April 15, 2021, and the Commission intends to propose the necessary legislation by the end of the second quarter of 2021.

The Initiative, which the Commission first outlined in its EU strategy for a more effective fight against child sexual abuse in July 2020, encompasses legislation to introduce detection and reporting responsibilities on relevant online service providers and the creation of a “European centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse” to coordinate and avoid duplication of Member States’ efforts.

Through the consultation, the Commission seeks to gather evidence from citizens and stakeholders to inform the preparation of the legislation and the proposed European centre.  The consultation asks respondents to weigh in on, in particular:

  • The types of child sexual abuse online and related activities that are most concerning and should be tackled in priority;
  • The key outcomes that the new legislation should aim to achieve;
  • The types of online service providers (“OSPs”) that should be subject to obligations under the legislation, and whether it should also apply to OSPs located outside the EU that offer services within the EU;
  • The actions that OSPs should carry out, and the safeguards that should be imposed on those actions;
  • The nature of transparency and accountability requirements under the legislation;
  • The need for, challenges faced by, and desired functions of the potential European centre to prevent and counter child sexual abuse; and
  • The nature of law enforcement action and sanctions required in the fight against child sexual abuse in the EU.

For more information on the Commission’s efforts to combat child sexual abuse online, feel free to read our previous blog post here.  We will continue monitoring developments in this field.

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Photo of Dan Cooper Dan Cooper

Daniel Cooper heads up the firm’s growing Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice in London, and counsels clients in the information technology, pharmaceutical research, sports and financial services industries, among others, on European and UK data protection, data retention and freedom of information laws…

Daniel Cooper heads up the firm’s growing Data Privacy and Cybersecurity practice in London, and counsels clients in the information technology, pharmaceutical research, sports and financial services industries, among others, on European and UK data protection, data retention and freedom of information laws, as well as associated information technology and e-commerce laws and regulations. Mr. Cooper also regularly counsels clients with respect to Internet-related liabilities under European and US laws. Mr. Cooper sits on the advisory boards of a number of privacy NGOs, privacy think tanks, and related bodies.

Photo of Lisa Peets Lisa Peets

Lisa Peets leads the intellectual property and technology and media groups in the firm’s London office. Ms. Peets divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces legislative advocacy, trade and IP enforcement. In this context, she has worked closely with…

Lisa Peets leads the intellectual property and technology and media groups in the firm’s London office. Ms. Peets divides her time between London and Brussels, and her practice embraces legislative advocacy, trade and IP enforcement. In this context, she has worked closely with leading multinationals in a number of sectors, including many of the world’s best-known software and hardware companies.

On behalf of her clients, Ms. Peets has been actively engaged in a wide range of law reform efforts in Europe, on multilateral, regional and national levels. This includes advocacy on EU and national initiatives relating to e-commerce, copyright, patents, data protection, technology standards, compulsory licensing, IPR enforcement and emerging technologies. Ms. Peets also counsels clients on trade related matters, including EU export controls and sanctions rules and WTO compliance.

In the IP enforcement space, Ms. Peets coordinates a team of lawyers and Internet investigators who direct civil and criminal enforcement actions in countries throughout Europe and who conduct global notice and takedown programs to combat Internet piracy.

Ms. Peets is a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on reform of the IP Enforcement Directive.

Stacy Young

Stacy Young is a trainee solicitor who attended the University of Law.