Online child pornography must henceforth be removed from the internet by ICT companies within 24 hours of notification. There will be an independent authority to check that, otherwise there will be a fine that can be up to four percent of turnover.
Minister Grapperhaus (Justice and Security) comes up with a bill on Tuesday to get that done. The Netherlands is unwittingly one of the largest distributors of child pornographic material. Last year, 7.4 million child pornographic images were found on Dutch servers during checks. “The time of non-commitment is over,” promises Grapperhaus.
Binding indication or penalty payment
An appointment has already been made with internet companies to retrieve child pornography from the so-called ‘servers’ within 24 hours, but not all companies cooperate. The pressure to do so will be increased from now on. An independent supervisor can force negligent companies with a ‘binding designation’ or a periodic penalty payment to cooperate. Grapperhaus: “In the worst case, I want to get servers out of the air, but it would be embarrassing if it came to this.”
the last few years, online child pornography has gone in the wrong direction. The Center of Expertise Online Children Abuse (EOKM) receives over 300,000 reports of online sexual abuse of minors every year. The problem gets bigger every year; in 2014 it was still less than 30,000 pictures.
More reports of exploitation of young people
It is feared that the coronacrisis has led to a further increase. Europol noted last summer that the number of reports of sexual exploitation of young people had doubled during the first lockdown. That growth was tracked by the amount of online child pornography that was found. Grapperhaus: “Also criminals are in a lockdown.”
The British child porn watchdog IWF also found in a report early 2020 that no less than 71 percent of all reported child pornography was on a Dutch server. That image is distorted, experts say: presumably most of the material is on American servers.
But the Netherlands plays a big role, also sees Grapperhaus. “Hosting companies from our country play a key role in the global internet thanks to our optimal digital infrastructure. But this position also creates obligations. The repulsive amount of child pornography must be reduced.” With the arrival of the authority and fines for renounders, Grapperhaus wants to turn the tide.
Analysis of TU Delft
Previously, the minister already made agreements with the ICT sector on combating child pornography on the Internet. At the end of last year, an analysis by TU Delft showed that about 84 percent of online child pornography is removed within the agreed 24 hours after a notification. But in 16 percent of cases it does not happen or not fast enough.