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EU plans law requiring tech firms to do more to combat child abuse

Published 01/08/2022, 09:06 PM
Updated 01/08/2022, 09:10 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson gives a news conference following the EU High-level Forum on providing protection to Afghans at risk, at the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, October 7, 2021. Stephanie Lecocq/Po
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Union plans to legislate in the coming months to require technology companies to do more to tackle child sexual abuse, beefing up current voluntary arrangements, a top official said in a newspaper interview.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson told Germany's Welt am Sonntag that internet service providers and social media firms had reported 22 million offences related to child sexual abuse in 2020, up from 17 million in 2019.

But she said that was only a fraction of the real number.

"I will propose legislation in the coming months that will require companies to detect, report, and remove child sexual abuse," Johansson was quoted as saying.

"A voluntary report will then no longer be sufficient."

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson gives a news conference following the EU High-level Forum on providing protection to Afghans at risk, at the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, October 7, 2021. Stephanie Lecocq/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Under current EU rules, social media networks and mail and messenger services such as Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) have a choice whether or not to follow up on offences.

Johansson said the fight against the abuse of minors should be better coordinated and a specialist European centre was needed to improve prevention, law enforcement and victim support.

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