118 civil society groups call on the EU to withdraw the CSA Regulation

Open Letter

118 civil society groups call on the EU to withdraw the CSA Regulation and pursue alternative measures that are more likely to be effective, sustainable and fully respect EU fundamental rights. The open letter's signatories include organisations working on children's digital rights, children's health, support for victims of online abuse, as well as the empowerment of girls and women.

Instead of implementing sweeping surveillance measures, the Stop Scanning Me campaign suggests alternative, structural approaches to tackling the root of the horrific crime of child sexual abuse

1. Education, awareness-raising and empowerment of survivors

Increasing awareness of and access by young people to hotlines, institutional reporting (police, social services and other authorities), and support mechanisms. Such demands have long been made by child protection organisations;

2. Social and structural change

Many organisations recommend increasing investments in social services - especially child protection departments, schools, anti-poverty measures and other survivor / victim support services, as well as trauma-informed approaches by police. Read more here and here;

3. The reform of police and other institutions

In Germany, one of the largest vaults of abuse imagery ever discovered stayed online for years because police reported not having enough human resources to take it down. Yet it took journalists investigating the issue just a couple of days to fully remove the content. Other Member States face similar issues, from the problem of closed institutions in France, to the overburdened police and public prosecutors in the Netherlands and Belgium. Structural solutions would ensure that the right authorities have the right resources to tackle the vast numbers of CSA cases that they are already unable to deal with;

4. Investment in hotlines

Increasing both EU and national funding to hotlines, ensuring a proper legal basis for their work, and committing funding further in advance, would boost the capacity and reduce the precariousness of these vital organisations who already remove vast amounts of CSAM from the internet quickly and effectively, and also provide support to survivors;

5. The enforcement of existing rules

The 2011 EU Child Sexual Abuse Directive contains many provisions requiring Member States to do more to tackle child sexual abuse on a national level, and worryingly, it has not been implemented fully despite being in force for over 11 years. The DSA further offers many new opportunities to tackle illegal content online, including CSAM;

6. Prevention

"Abuse will continue if the root causes that allow it to exist in the first place are not challenged", we learn. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that "Effective evidence-based strategies are available to proactively protect children from child sexual abuse, but few have been widely disseminated";

7. Working together to protect children and all fundamental rights

Bringing child rights groups, educators, social workers, digital rights groups, other human rights groups, will help us answer the real, pressing question: how can we keep children safe while fully upholding fundamental rights?

Policy Paper

A safe internet for all: upholding private and secure communications

The CSAR lacks a sufficient legal basis, contradicts substantial portions of EU law, in particular fundamental rights law; adds significant complexity to existing processes which could hamper current national efforts to remove CSAM; and is technically impossible for service providers to implement in a way that respects rights and is effective to achieve its stated aims.

Who is responsible in the European Parliament?

An infographic showing the legislative procedure in the European Parliament. The lead committee is LIBE (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs). The four committees that issue an opinion are IMCO, CULT, FEMM, BUDG. The four rapporteurs for the 4 opinion committees are Alex Agius Saliva (S&D) for IMCO, Niyazi Kizilyurek (The Left) for CULT, non determined yet for FEMM, and Niclas Herbst (EPP) for BUDG. They all submit their opinions to the Lead Commitee LIBE . The lead Rapporteur of the lead LIBE Committee is Javier Zarzalejos (EPP). TheShadow Rapporteurs are Patrick Breyer (The Greens), Paul Tang (S&D), Hilde Vautmans (Renew), Vicenzo Soffo (ECR), Cornelia Ernst (The Left) and Annalisa Tardino (ID). The lead committee issues a report and proposes it to the plenary, as the basis for the Parliament's position. The official position is debated and agreed on by the Parliament. This position will later be negotiated in Trilogue Negotiations with the EU Council and the European Commission. The agreed compromise  will be subject to a final vote.

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