Ultimatum for ICT companies that are malicious and negligent in combating online child sexual abuse

Online child sexual abuse must be eradicated. Together with the ICT sector, the Netherlands is working on a tough approach to combat online child sexual abuse. From September, malicious and negligent web hosting providers will be blacklisted. This information was included in a speech that Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus gave tonight during a digital event of the European Parliament to follow up on the Dutch approach in the European context.

The European Parliament convened tonight to combat the global pest of online child sexual abuse. As society is becoming increasingly digital, there has been a worrying increase of child sexual abuse material across the internet. We can only banish this horrible crime and better protect its victims if Europe comes up with a joint and coordinated solution.

Delft University of Technology monitors online child sexual abuse

Recently, Minister Grapperhaus wrote directly to hosting providers on whose servers child sexual abuse material was found. These companies were revealed by an initial round of monitoring developed by Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) with the aim of enhancing the public-private approach to online child sexual abuse. Writing to these companies, minister Grapperhaus appealed to their social responsibility to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.

The TU Delft monitor highlights how much child sexual abuse material which company has where on its servers. As a result of the initial round of monitoring, 17 companies were identified and addressed in writing. It appears that a small minority of these companies is responsible for uploading a large majority of the harmful content. In the months ahead, monitoring will be expanded to measure the period of time between the company receiving a notification and removing the content. Minister Grapperhaus will provide the Lower House of Parliament with further details by September, as soon as TU Delft has finalised its measurements and produced a report. This report will publish the names and performance of companies that host child sexual abuse material – unintentionally or otherwise.

Advances will also be made in administrative law enforcement for companies refusing to cooperate in purging the internet. As a result, malicious or negligent internet companies that fail to remove child sexual abuse material from public websites in time following notification will soon be liable to a fine or penalty.