We were pleased to make a submission to the European Commission's public consultation on Child sexual abuse online - detection, removal and reporting.
The consultation was the second step in the European Commission's initiative to set out responsibilities of online service providers, including requirements to detect, remove and report child sexual abuse online and to report that material to authorities. It follows collection of feedback on its initiative roadmap last December. The consultation also sought feedback on a proposed central European organisation dedicated to preventing and countering child sexual abuse.
In our submission we highlighted the failure of voluntary measures to procure ethical corporate behaviour which prioritises child safety over profits, as documented in our ten year history of campaigns to end sexual exploitation. We expressed our support for legislation for the mandatory detection, removal and reporting of online child sexual abuse material, and sanctions for failure to comply with the proposed legislation.
We commended the combined activities and operations of the Office of the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) and the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) as a model for a European centre dedicated to combatting child sexual abuse and exploitation. We also commend the Five Eyes Security Alliance global cooperation to address child sexual exploitation and the work of the WePROTECT Global Alliance.
As an example of improved cooperation between civil society groups and service providers in the fight against online child sexual abuse, we described our working relationship with Facebook Australia. By reporting child exploitation material and predatory activity directly to Facebook executives, we are now seeing expedited takedown of content. Previously, we documented a takedown rate of just 10 per cent of content we reported through Instagram's in-app reporting system. We also said, however, that it was unreasonable for rich, well-resourced corporates to rely on citizens to monitor their platforms for child exploitation activity and carry out reporting requirements on their behalf.
We highlighted the links between pornography and the normalisation of child sexual abuse, stating that exposing children to pornography is itself an act of abuse. We pointed the Committee to our submission to the Australian inquiry into age verification for online wagering and pornography and urged the Commission to introduce mandatory age verification for online pornography across its jurisdictions.
We included information about the growing global trade - including in the EU - in life-like, child-sized sex dolls modelled on the bodies of children and babies, and replica child body parts and recommended uniform legislation globally to combat trade in this type of child sexual abuse material.
We drew attention to the recent investigations into MindGeek/Pornhub by Canada's House of Commons Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics, and urged the EU to conduct its own investigations into MindGeek/Pornhub and its owners and executives, given the presence of MindGeek/Pornhub Headquarters and servers in EU jurisdictions.
We also recommended consideration of an EU-wide implementation of the Nordic (Equality) Model which criminalises sex buyers and provides support for victims of sex trafficking and abuse, given the correlation between the sex trade and increased risk to children of being trafficked into the trade to meet demand.
Read our complete submission here.
See the full list of our past government and industry submissions here.