The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee has appealed for stronger safeguards to ensure that tools used to detect and remove online child sexual abuse respect people’s fundamental rights.
Online material linked to child sexual abuse is detected through specific technologies that scan the content, such as images and text, or traffic data. Hashing technology could be used for images and videos to detect child sex abuse material, and classifiers and artificial intelligence could be used to analyse text or traffic data and detect grooming (“solicitation”). MEPs, while allowing this practice to continue, agreed that this material has to be processed using technologies that are the least intrusive to privacy.
MEPs have demanded that the technology used should not be able to understand the substance of the content but only detect patterns. The processed data should be analysed by a person before being reported to authorities. Interactions that are covered by professional secrecy, such as between doctors and their patients, journalists and their sources or lawyers and their clients should not be interfered with.
This legislation should not be interpreted as prohibiting or weakening end-to-end encryption, MEPs underline, and this derogation should not be extended to include audio communications.