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Child sexual abuse

Commission proposes to extend Interim Regulation allowing providers to continue voluntary detection and reporting of child sexual abuse

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On 30 November, the Commission proposed an extension of the Interim Regulation from certain provisions of the e-Privacy Directive. This will allow providers of certain number-independent interpersonal communication services to continue voluntary detection and reporting of child sexual abuse on their services and removing of child sexual abuse material from them.

The Interim Regulation is a temporary solution to enable the continuation of these voluntary activities until new permanent EU rules are in place. This Interim Regulation is due to expire on 3 August 2024. If no new rules are in place by then, when this happens, these providers would lack a legal basis in the EU to detect and report child sexual abuse on their services. This would make it easier for predators to share child sexual abuse material, groom children in the EU and to get away with it unpunished. This at a time when evidence of child sexual abuse is growing in volume and severity and its reports play a key role to investigate these crimes, rescue children and brings perpetrators to justice. Hence the need for the extension of the Interim Regulation.

In May 2022, the Commission proposed a long-term legislative framework to address this serious issue: a proposal for a Regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. Inter-institutional negotiations continue on this proposal. To avoid a legislative gap in the detection and reporting of child sexual abuse online, the Commission has now proposed an extension of the Interim Regulation's duration.This bridges the period until the long-term legislation to tackle child sexual abuse online, put forward by the Commission in 2022, is approved. The extension proposed today would apply from 4 August 2024, for a period of maximum two years.

The Commission continues to support co-legislators in reaching an agreement for a sustainable solution to combat child sexual abuse and protect children.

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