EU plans to save us from kiddie porn

The EU might be set to open the can of worms which is internet censorship and demand that nation states block some pornography sites.

Members of the European Parliament Monday prepared a position statement on the idea which has sent digital rights groups ringing their alarm bells with the gusto of Quasimodo after he has snorted too much charlie.

The Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has examined a report that looks at the viability of blocking websites that distribute child porn. Their opinion will put to a vote by the whole Parliament at the beginning of February.

While the report, prepared by Italian Member of Parliament Roberta Angelilli, proposes that blocking should be left up to member nations, digital rights groups are concerned that some parliamentarians will propose mandatory blocking. Both the European Commission and Council like the idea.

So far the text adopted by the European Council states that member states should take the “appropriate measures to remove web pages containing or disseminating child pornography”, including “non-legislative measures.”

According to Techworld  the text says that the blocking of access shall be “subject to adequate safeguards”, in particular to ensure that the “blocking is limited to what is necessary”. Users need to be informed of the reasons for the blocking and that content providers, as far as possible, are informed of the possibility of challenging it.

However the European Digital Rights (EDRi) said that blocking warns suspected criminals that have been spotted. As the outfit’s Joe McNamee pointed out if you are accused of running a website containing images of gross violations of children, it is unlikely that you are going to respond to a polite notice that you wish to complain.

The way the law is being drafted the priority is not to identify the children, not to investigate the criminals, but to avoid inadvertent public access, even though blocking has never been shown to have an impact on this.

Countries that introduce web-blocking to target child abuse today, will block to protect gambling monopolies tomorrow and politically unwelcome websites next. This is what happened in France, McNamee pointed out.