New Directive: Measures Against Websites Disseminating Child Pornography

Huťko just bumped to the new Directive 2011/92/EU of 13 December 2011 on combating the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. I recall the debate about this paragraph in the European parliament, but then I forgot to follow the discussion to the end. It looks like Member States shall bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to transpose this article by 18 December 2013.

Article 25

Measures against websites containing or disseminating child pornography

1. Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure the prompt removal of web pages containing or disseminating child pornography hosted in their territory and to endeavour to obtain the removal of such pages hosted outside of their territory.

2. Member States may (sic!) take measures to block access to web pages containing or disseminating child pornography towards the Internet users within their territory. These measures must be set by transparent procedures and provide adequate safeguards, in particular to ensure that the restriction is limited to what is necessary and proportionate, and that users are informed of the reason for the restriction. Those safeguards shall also include the possibility of judicial redress.

Recalling one particular abuse of the website blocking (famous block of Wikipedia), I am wondering whether Member States transpose, and more importantly how they transpose the Art. 25 (2). Two recitals of the Directive make the above wording more clear in the context of the aims of Directive.

(46) Child pornography, which constitutes child sexual abuse images, is a specific type of content which cannot be construed as the expression of an opinion. To combat it, it is necessary to reduce the circulation of child sexual abuse material by making it more difficult for offenders to upload such content onto the publicly accessible web. Action is therefore necessary to remove the content and apprehend those guilty of making, distributing or down­ loading child sexual abuse images. With a view to supporting the Union’s efforts to combat child pornography, Member States should use their best endeavours to cooperate with third countries in seeking to secure the removal of such content from servers within their territory.

(47) However, despite such efforts, the removal of child pornography content at its source is often not possible when the original materials are not located within the Union, either because the State where the servers are hosted is not willing to cooperate or because obtaining removal of the material from the State concerned proves to be particularly long. Mechanisms may also be put in place to block access from the Union’s territory to Internet pages identified as containing or disseminating child pornography. The measures undertaken by Member States in accordance with this Directive in order to remove or, where appropriate, block websites containing child pornography could be based on various types of public action, such as legislative, non-legislative, judicial or other. In that context, this Directive is without prejudice to voluntary action taken by the Internet industry to prevent the misuse of its services or to any support for such action by Member States. Whichever basis for action or method is chosen, Member States should ensure that it provides an adequate level of legal certainty and predictability to users and service providers. Both with a view to the removal and the blocking of child abuse content, cooperation between public authorities should be established and strengthened, particularly in the interests of ensuring that national lists of websites containing child pornography material are as complete as possible and of avoiding duplication of work. Any such developments must take account of the rights of the end users and comply with existing legal and judicial procedures and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Safer Internet Programme has set up a network of hotlines the goal of which is to collect information and to ensure coverage and exchange of reports on the major types of illegal content online.

In any case, I guess that regulated website blocking is better than non-transparent self-regulation of the ISPs. Or? See new incident reported in Denmark.

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