The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee adopted today its position on new measures to prevent child sexual abuse online. 

The Parliament’s position overturns the European Commission’s proposal, which would have unleashed a massive new surveillance system, benefiting only tech companies, not children. 

To avoid mass surveillance, the Parliament proposes that detection orders related to any child sexual abuse material online (CSAM) be limited to suspected persons and be required by a court. The Parliament’s text doesn’t undermine or lead to the prohibition of end-to-end encryption from chat apps, ensuring that communication for all users is secure. 

The proposal, however, still mandates The EU Centre to be created to acquire the necessary software to detect CSAM from private companies and make it freely available to communication service providers. The Left in the European Parliament will continue to fight against any lobbying efforts from Big Tech to undermine the critical legislation needed to protect both children and fundamental rights,  in its attempt to get access to public money.  

Left MEP Cornelia Ernst, Die Linke (Germany) declared: 

“We have completely turned the Commission’s proposal on its head. From the start, the Commission’s approach was wrong and flawed and a blank cheque for mass surveillance. For us, the most important thing was that people’s communications can only be “scanned” if there is an explicit and clearly justifiable suspicion that they are involved in child abuse and that encryption cannot be broken. We have now limited the detection order in the Parliament position and also focused on removing known CSAM material from the internet. All in all, we did a good job as a team. Nevertheless, we still view some parts of the compromise as critical. It is now up to the Council to follow the Parliament’s example of a good, coherent and legally sound position.”

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