EU cracks down on Internet child porn

By Paul Meller, IDG News Service |  Internet, regulation

In a bid to crack down on Internet child porn, the European Commission Friday pledged €300,000 (US$377,600) to create a pan-European alert platform where people can report illegal material on Web sites.

Under a plan originally devised by the French government, which currently holds the European Union's six-month rotating presidency, the alert platform will be set up and run by Europol -- the E.U. law enforcement agency.

The aim is for the platform to help investigators of online crime in E.U. countries share information about all cybercrime, but child porn in particular. Child pornography accounts for over half of all offenses committed online, the Commission said in a statement. The Commission is the E.U.'s executive and regulatory-oversight arm.

"The fight against child sexual abuse material on the Internet is an absolute priority for me and the Commission" said the Commissioner for freedom, security and justice, Jacques Barrot.

In addition to paying for the creation of the platform, the Commission said it will also make available funding for those countries in the E.U. that will have to adapt their national reporting systems so they interoperate with the Europol platform, and for countries that don't have any such systems.

Barrot said the alert platform would only be useful if authorities in the 27 member states use it. "In order for the platform to be fully effective, the member states have to use it during their investigations," he said.

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