Brussels, 23 January 2024

The undersigned organisations have been participating, from different angles, in the discussions surrounding the proposal laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. All signatories share the same goal, which is to create and maintain a safe online environment for children, to detect and remove child sexual abuse (CSA) content online, and to ensure the investigation of offenders, in a manner that is compatible with privacy and human rights.

Whereas the Council and the European Parliament announced very ambitious timelines at the beginning of the discussions to ensure the proposal would be in force by the end of the legislative mandate, we are concerned about the lack of progress in the negotiations. The absence of a temporary framework, such as the temporary ePrivacy Derogation3, would create a legal gap and would risk the ability for interpersonal communications service (ICS) providers to continue carrying out selected detection, reporting and removal work against CSA online.

Both NGOs and relevant ICS providers therefore welcome the European Commission’s proposal to extend the temporary ePrivacy Derogation4 and the recently approved negotiating mandate of the Council, which calls for an extension of the derogation until August 2027. Should a permanent solution not be in place before the end of the mandate, and given that the expiration of the ePrivacy derogation on 3 August 2024 is fast approaching, signatories agree that an extension of at least two years of the temporary framework, or until the new permanent framework is in force, is necessary.

Proactive work against CSA has proven to be effective over the past decade5. We therefore ask the European Parliament to support the Commission and the Council on this initiative and call on co-legislators to swiftly adopt the extension of the temporary ePrivacy derogation.

However, this extension should only be considered as a transitory solution, as the core focus is to agree on a long term framework, and promptly adopt the CSA Regulation. To ensure legal certainty, measures to process data need to be introduced in the CSA Regulation, in order for ICS providers to continue a proactive and transparent mitigation of CSA risks on their services.

All signatories remain committed to working towards legislation which stands the test of time and that is in the best interest of children. We stand ready to provide input in the coming weeks and months to achieve this goal.

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