Authority may require hosting companies to remove online child sexual abuse material from servers

Hosting companies may soon be required to delete online child sexual abuse material from their servers and make the harmful visual material inaccessible to internet users, otherwise an administrative fine will be imposed. This may soon be possible, given that the Senate approved the Eradication of Online Child Pornographic Material (Administrative Law Approach) Act (Wet bestuursrechtelijke aanpak online kinderpornografisch materiaal) this week.

Work on implementing the act can actually be started quickly because the Authority for the Prevention of Online Terrorist Content and Child Pornography (Autoriteit Online Terroristisch en Kinderpornografisch Materiaal, ATKM) has existed since the entry into force of the Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online implementation act (Uitvoeringswet verordening terroristische online-inhoud). On the basis of this new law the ATKM is expected to be able to take action against online visual material of child sexual abuse as from 1 July this year.  Failing and negligent hosting companies that do not quickly remove reported visual material of child sexual abuse will soon risk a fine. That fine will be turnover-dependent and may amount to as much as 10% of the company's turnover in the event of repeated violations.

As Minister Yeşilgöz-Zegerius of Justice and Security confirmed: “Rapid removal by hosting companies is a hugely important aspect of tackling online child sexual abuse material. Our country’s excellent digital infrastructure means that companies based in the Netherlands play a major role in terms of the global internet. This special position also implies obligations when it comes to protecting children from online sexual abuse. In addition to the criminal justice approach to sexual abuse, we must do all we can to get this horrific visual material off the internet. Any older material which remains in circulation online is also very damaging to children's lives.''