IWF in the EU

Campaign on the temporary derogation from Electronic Communications Code

For the past three years, we’ve raised concerns about the European Commission’s e-privacy proposals. On 21 December, the European Electronic Communications Code became law. This brought email and messaging services in scope of the e-privacy directive.

Unfortunately, as the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council were unable to conclude trialogue negotiations on a temporary derogation ahead of the December deadline, some companies had to stop using PhotoDNA on their services. This meant they were no longer scanning the imagery on their services which would enable them to find and remove known child sexual abuse material.

Other companies announced that they would continue to scan, a move we praised widely. We will continue to work with the European institutions in early 2021 to bring a swift and hopefully positive outcome that works for children.

New strategy to tackle Child Sexual Abuse

We met European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, in October to discuss the European Commission’s proposal for a new strategy to tackle child sexual abuse. We also responded to the European Commission’s roadmap. We called for:

  1. The introduction of a new regulation to replace the current child sexual abuse directive.
  2. To designate hotlines as “trusted flaggers”.
  3. For hotlines to be further empowered through appropriate funding and the ability to proactively seek content on an EU-wide basis.

Our work and recommendations were referenced by several MEPs in debates of the LIBE committee and plenary in September.

Here, MEP Assita Kanko and MEP Laura Ferrara reference IWF when talking about protecting the most vulnerable in society.

Digital Services Act

The European Commission in December published its proposal for a new Digital Services Act following a consultation which we responded to. The legislation proposes a series of new, harmonised EU-wide obligations for digital services and includes rules for the removal of illegal goods, services, or content online.