Suffer the Children

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The European Union is proposing a new law that would order online platforms to do more to screen and remove child abuse online even as privacy rights activists expressed concern over the legislation’s broad reach, CNBC reported.

The planned rules would allow bloc countries to require big tech companies, such as Facebook and Apple, to implement systems that can detect child sexual abuse content on their platforms.

The bill would also create the EU Centre on Child Sexual Abuse, which would enforce the rules and maintain a database with digital “indicators” of such content reported by law enforcement.

EU officials and the bill’s supporters praised it as a “groundbreaking proposal” that would make the bloc a global leader in the fight against online child abuse.

But privacy advocates fear that the bill may damage end-to-end encryption, which scrambles messages so that only the intended receiver can access them. They described it as “a disaster for user privacy not just in the EU but throughout the world.”

The bloc said that the proposed measures are “technologically neutral” but cautioned that the consequences of leaving end-to-end encryption out of the requirements would be “severe” for children.

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