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  • Published 01.06.22

    Child Sexual Abuse - Civil Society's Open Letter to the European Union

    On May 11, the European Commission released a proposed Regulation laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse. It is timely and historic, not just for Europe but for the world. When passed, this legislation has the potential to make an impact far beyond the EU and help advance the global fight against child sexual abuse in both the offline and online worlds.

    Focusing on the online dimension of child sexual abuse, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson emphasizes that there has been a 6000% increase in reports of child sexual abuse online in the EU in the last ten years alone. Most of the images and victims remain hidden, their abuse unseen and unreported. But even the tip of the iceberg is enormous: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received close to 85 million files containing child sexual abuse material in 2021. In the previous year, that number was 65 million. Over 62% of online child sexual abuse material (CSAM) worldwide is hosted on servers based in the EU. It will take collaboration between citizens, institutions, policymakers, tech companies, and nonprofit organizations to tackle a problem at this scale.

    We, as a collective of organisations that strive for children’s rights, safety, and security online and offline, support the European Commission’s proposal as a critical step toward better protection of children’s rights. The proposed Regulation presents a vision of a responsible internet where children are free to be curious and explore online spaces safely. It aims to ensure that technology is developed and used in conformity with European Union values and in accordance with fundamental rights, with particular attention paid to protecting children.

    The full open letter, currently signed by 99 civil society organizations (updated 20.07.2022), can be downloaded here in English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French and Greek.

    For more information or to add your name and organisation to the list please contact emily.slifer@wearethorn.org

  • Published 21.04.22

    Call for participation in the programme of the IGF 2022

    Pauline Richter, Stiftung Digitale Chancen

    A call for active participation in the programme development of the Internet Governance Forum 2022 (IGF) has been issued again this year. The IGF is an annual global multi-stakeholder forum with the aim of creating a dialogue on internet governance. The deadline to submit session proposals has been extended until 10 June 2022 11:59pm. These can take place in a variety of formats, including workshops, open forums, lightning talks and networking sessions.

    The 17th annual IGF meeting is hosted by the Government of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa under the overarching theme of "Resilient Internet for a Shared Sustainable and Common Future". This year, the IGF programme will be closely linked with the Global Digital Compact, as envisioned by the United Nations Secretary-General in his Our Common Agenda report. Five themes drawn directly from the focus areas of the proposed GDC will structure the IGF meeting:

    1. Connecting All People and Safeguarding Human Rights
    2. Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
    3. Governing Data and Protecting Privacy
    4. Enabling Safety, Security and Accountability
    5. Addressing Advanced Technologies, including AI

    It is important for children’s rights to play a significant role in this year’s programme. Children's rights are human rights and must therefore be considered in the first thematic focus area. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and General Comment 25 can also provide important guidance on the topics of privacy as well as security and protection.

    We are looking forward to the active involvement of the children's rights community in the programme design and the development of proposals, as was the case last year. When submitting workshop proposals, it is particularly important to ensure diversity of everyone involved in terms of regional origin, social groups, gender and age. Please contact us at jcroll@digitale-chancen.de if you would like to submit a proposal and need support in approaching international partner organisations or selecting speakers. We are also happy to help with the wording of the information to be provided in the submission form.

    Further information can be found here.

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