ENDitorial: Commissioner blames USA for imposition of EU censorship

By EDRi · April 7, 2010

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Deutsch: [ENDitorial: Kommissarin gibt der USA die Schuld an der wachsenden Zensur in der EU | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1836]

In a blog post, Commissioner Malmström’s press spokesman Love Berggren
placed the blame for the perceived need to impose EU-wide blocking squarely
at the feet of the governments in the USA, Russia and Ukraine. He said that
“a check of the internet by hotlines in 35 countries recently found 144 web
sites in the USA, Russia, Ukraine and other countries. One year later, a
majority of the sites were still operating”.

It is quite puzzling that the Commission has chosen to publicly criticise
Russia and Ukraine in this context. There is widespread agreement that the
problem of child abuse websites has decreased significantly in recent years
in Russia and efforts are ongoing to address the problem there ever more
effectively. This was partly to be attributed to efforts of former
Commissioner Frattini for positive international engagement with Russia to
remove the websites completely from the Internet rather than the new focus
of blocking the sites while taking no new initiatives to take them offline.

Similarly, Ukraine has never appeared significantly on the reports of
European hotlines with regard to child abuse images. However, and this may
be an indicator of a wider strategy of the Commission, it has repeatedly
been criticised with regard to intellectual property infringements.

The big question then is: why are the sites hosted in the USA not taken
down? This is all the more surprising when it is precisely the USA in the
ACTA negotiations that is pushing a “notice and takedown” regime for
websites accused of infringing intellectual property – can the USA really be
simultaneously pushing the world to delete alleged copyright-infringing
websites and refusing to delete child abuse websites? What position has the
US government taken with regard to the very serious accusation of
Commissioner Malmström?

It does not come as a surprise that the “impact assessment” of the proposal
which suggests blocking as a solution does not identify the nature of the
problems that lead to child abuse websites being left online. After all,
with a solution as populist as blocking, who needs to specify the problem?

Apparent location of child abuse websites and trends from 2007 to 2008 from
the Irish hotline

Proposal for a Directive on combating the sexual abuse, sexual exploitation
of children and child pornography, repealing Framework Decision 2004/68/JHA

Impact assessment (25.03.2009)

Commissioner Malmström’s blog (in Swedish and English) on this issue

Ett slag för barnens rättigheter

(Contribution by Joe McNamee – EDRi)