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Report presented at Second Expert Workshop on EU’s Proposed Regulation on Preventing and Combating Child Sexual Abuse

A second Expert Workshop brought multidisciplinary experts together to produce interdisciplinary outcomes on the technology proposed EU’s Proposal for a Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse.

Amy Crocker, Dr Mark Leiser and Dr Sabine Witting, legal academics from the ALTI Center at Vrije University of Amsterdam and Leiden University, respectively, presented a second report on the potential implications of the proposed technology European Union’s Proposal for a Regulation to prevent and combat child sexual abuse (proposed EU Regulation) The report, sponsored by both universities and ECPAT International, is the result of a workshop convened by VU-Amsterdam, ECPAT International and Leiden University, under Chatham House rules in March 2023, where stakeholders from various organisations came together to discuss the impact of the proposed detection technologies in the EU proposed Regulation.

The main topics discussed during the workshop were the technology-related aspects of the proposed Regulation, including end-to-end-encryption (E2EE) and detection technologies. On the first day of the workshop, experts discussed the legal obligations to deploy detection technologies under the proposed Regulation. The experts emphasized that any deployment of detection technologies must be done in a way that respects fundamental rights, including privacy and security. They also noted that there is a need for a more nuanced approach to detection technologies, taking into account their potential impact on fundamental rights.

The second day of the workshop focused on discussing the technical implications of detection technologies and their impact on E2EE. Experts reassessed the rating of technological solutions set out on the first day across various criteria, focusing on privacy and security while considering their value for child protection and crime prevention. They also took a distinct fundamental rights perspective to assess which risks are imposed on fundamental rights and what procedural/substantive safeguards might be required in the proposed Regulation to protect such rights. The experts agreed that E2EE technologies must be preserved while ensuring that the proposed Regulation’s objectives are achieved.

The experts made several key recommendations during the workshop, including the need for a more nuanced approach to detection technologies, the importance of considering the impact of the proposed Regulation on fundamental rights, and the need for further research and evidence-based policymaking.

The workshop’s organisers are committed to continuing the discussions and analysis of topics related to online child sexual abuse, with the intention that these workshops will help lawmakers develop legislation that respects and protects the fundamental rights of all users. The report’s authors are available for any questions or further discussions. For more information or to request an interview with Dr Leiser or Dr Witting, do not hesitate to contact them directly. A copy of the first workshop report is available here.


Photo by Markus Spiske


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