back to article European child abuse image law a step closer

The European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee has passed a draft law to remove all child sex abuse images hosted in EU countries. The law says that if images are hosted outwith the EU they should be blocked by individual member states. The Committee made some changes - the law previously made removal of images mandatory …


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  1. Martin 66
    Thumb Down

    Outwith !?!?

    Outside would do fine I think. Outwith is not in the OED and is archaic english generally only used in Scotland.

    1. Mike Shepherd

      "The noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees..."

      It is indeed a constant problem, immigrants who refuse to learn English.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Outwith is not in the OED"

      It's in my New Shorter OED so I suspect it's also in The OED.

    3. Annihilator Silver badge


      Could you add "amongst" and "whilst" to your list of words to be shot please?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        "Amongst" and "the whilst" are perfectly okay according to Chambers,

        although "outwith" is not listed.

        Perhaps you need to expand your vocabulary.

        1. Annihilator Silver badge


          ""Amongst" and "the whilst" are perfectly okay according to Chambers"

          Yes, I know they're listed, but they're completely redundant. I know we have a varied language, but adding "st" to the end of words to give them exactly the same meaning is nonsense(st).

          Stick "amidst" in there too actually.

          1. Dave Cradle

            Whilst and amongst

            Whilst and amongst are perfectly good words. I use them all the time, so do a lot of other sane, modern-day, educated, non-pretentious people. They're probably just not popular in chavsville, init?

            Now, people who say "methinks" in forum posts. You can shoot them by all means.

            I'd never heard anyone use outwith before, though.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: archaic english

      Could we add "English" to that list too? Any fool knows the proper name for the language is "Anglish."

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Language working as it should.

      We understood exactly what was meant.

      +1 to all concerned

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Wait, so...

    "Employers get the right to obtain information on employees' previous sex offences."

    I haven't got any previous sex offences, but given that urinating in public can get you on the SOR I hope they don't just give "yes, he's on it" or "no, he's not" results. That could lead to a lot of trouble when trying to find a job!

    Even if I had, say, been done for screwing a 15 year old what has that got to do with my employer? Would it affect me as a programmer? Design engineer? Construction worker? Accountant? Journalist? Blacksmith?

    How about an edgier case- Given that I'm male and something in the region of 110% of the people I work with are male (engineering! woo!) would rape (of a woman) make any significant difference to my ability to do the job asked? Almost certainly not. It's not a pleasant crime, but once you've been through the penal system and your punishment is over haven't you repaid your debt to society? If you were still thought a risk you'd be under near-constant watch or still in prison.

    I may be wrong- feel free to flame away if you think I am and please comment if you think I've got it right.

    1. Luther Blissett

      Makes a difference?

      Dunno if there are many one-handed construction workers or blacksmiths.

      Actually I wouldn't worry too much if I were you, even if you have trouble keeping your extra leg in order. All the evidence is that the people that employers are really shit scared of are those with mental health problems.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *New offences such as "grooming" have also been created.*

    Ok.... sounds fine in principle but isn't this open to interpretation ?

    Unless someone has previous "form" or there is clear intent then what is "grooming" ?

    Sounds like a conversation which to one person is completely innocent could be seen to someone else (typically paranoid parent ?) as much less so. Maybe there's an business opening for "age verified" online chat too ! (more so than there allways was anyway).

  4. Anonymous Coward


    So the EU and all member countries have decided on what a child abuse image is then?

    "Employers get the right to obtain information on employees' previous sex offences."

    And is that any employer? And what is a sex offence? As in the UK a sex offence is shagging a bicycle in your locked room and not stopping when someone breaks in (even if you have keys I'm pretty sure going into someones room is breaking in...)

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      And I suspect this will include all that cartoon porn as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I suspect that there is a pretty good definition of what a "child abuse" image is, otherwise it would be impossible to make child porn illigal.

      (With you on the other stuff though.)

  5. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    So is the start of the slippery slope? We allow the state to block "nasty content", under the TOTC ( think of the children ) banner which no one argues with, then the state changes the definition of what constitutes "nasty content".

    1. T J

      Scary, scary

      Yup, correctamundo. Now that gays and smokers don't provide enough leverage, the stalins must be thanking the gods for pedophiles and rapists. And when they all stop doing what they are doing (or get accepted in some philip k dicksian side universe??) who is the next Scapegoat-generator for Big Brother??

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That'll fix the problem

    Ooops, sorry! I meant, "That'll sweep the problem under the carpet."

    Oh well, as long as no-one _sees_ anything bad they'll stop complaining about it. After all, a problem you don't notice can't exist, right?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      You could argue that by removing the images, you're preventing a curious "on the edge of" person from finding them, and prevent them from going over the edge. On the other hand, you could also argue that without access to images, they could go out and "create" their own images by abusing further victims.

      You could easily argue either way that access to existing images both creates and prevents further victims.

      But (and this is the crucial one), as long as this isn't the *only* method they're using to protect children from abuse (and I think we're all sensible enough to know that it isn't), that such images have no place in our society and if possible there should be an easy method of ordering their take-down in the EU. It's surely just one weapon in an arsenal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        that does

        That does require you to believe the state line that such people exist. Most recent cases are either long term familial abuse or people heavily manipulated by someone with a long term commitment.

        Also someone with who is "curious" wouldn't be hampered by such measures.

        Personally I'm of the when you find them (images sites/videos etc) find out who put them there and put them in prison (after you've looked into their lives to try and figure out if they have a greater level of connection.)

        But I'm also of the opinion that the person in the image has to be a child and has to be being abused. So no more drawings or jb taking pictures of themselves and posting them as camwhores, or very young looking woman, being classed as cp.

      2. Cameron Colley

        RE: Difficult..

        Perhaps a united effort to trace the owners of such sites may be in order?

        The UK and its cronies seem perfectly able to arrange for people to be dragged off the streets of a good many cities of the world and torture them for kicks because they once knew someone who was six degrees away from a "terrorist" -- perhaps they could use a similar technique on "pedos"?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Trace and remove

          That's what this piece of work is aiming to do within the EU - issue takedowns where possible (not just blocking it). But I suspect a lot of it comes from places like Russia, which aren't part of the EU last I checked.

      3. Graham Marsden
        Thumb Down

        "just one weapon in an arsenal."

        Compare and contrast a sniper's rifle and a shotgun...

  7. James Marten
    Big Brother


    "...such blocks must use transparent procedures, inform users of the reason for the block and allow an appeals process"

    Does that mean that the IWF block list will be visible (i.e. not secret as at present) then?

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      Doesn't say that

      It's already possible to identify if something is on the IWF list. An informative message saying "this is blocked" instead of the nefarious and incorrect 404 error would be no different, and wouldn't require handing out a copy of the list either.

      The "transparent procedures" presumably means "not the shoddy proxy implementation that changes the source IP address and causes all sorts of problems for content that isn't on the IWF list but is on the same server" that causes problems with fileserve etc on Be/O2/VM/BT systems, and witnessed in the Wikipedia/Scorpions debacle a few years ago.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Big Brother

      @James Marten

      "Does that mean that the IWF block list will be visible (i.e. not secret as at present) then?"

      Well on those words it *should*.

      But since when has the UK *willingly* obeyed more transparency legislation?

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Outwith is a use up with which we shall not stand.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    you need a bigger OED - it's in the full one.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It sounds so reasonable... but it's still censorship.

    "The Parliament believes the problem is getting worse and that around 200 abusive images are uploaded every day."

    What, 200 images "uploaded every day" wordlwide? Or just within the 300-odd million souls large europark? Is 200 images the price of euro-wide censorship? That sounds about as useful as the Dutch parliament debating at length the problem of the three to four eyes lost yearly to uncontrolled corks launched by opening champagne bottles. On a population of 16 million, that's sounds like a shining example of parliament using their time in an efficient and productive manner, as sad as it is for the people losing an eye.

    The problem with censorship is the collateral damage, its secrecy, it being a threat to democracy as it easily could censor something innocious or something that you have a right to say but others mightn't be minded to let anyone else hear.

    At the end of the day, it still amounts to shuffling the evidence under the carpet instead of going after those who made the images in the first place. How many policemen are there in all of europark? They together cannot quell the sources of 200 images per day?

    This number doesn't give me the confidence europark parliament does have our best interests in mind, though it might have various government's or their own best interests in mind. Time to poke our MEPs again, imploring them not to be this stupid, please.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Is it the same 200 images being uploaded by different people after they have downloaded them or new ones?

      1. Adam Foxton

        Does that include video?

        Even at a relatively slow 20fps that's suddenly a lot less worrying. 10 seconds of abuse a day... out of 6Bn people. That puts it lower than the number of pictures that'd be online for the average happy-slapping video.

        Or are there 200 new sets of photos of different kids (or new albums of the same kids) being put up daily? THEN it looks like a much more serious problem. Still not sure if state censorship is the answer (actually, let's face it. I am sure- it isn't), but it makes it a lot more serious.

        Surely if they can find where these images are being posted they can see where they're being posted from? You know, in accordance with the laws of the land (have evidence, get court order for any and all records required, etc)... maybe they could work on tracking down the people posting these images rather than just making them harder to see?

        I mean it's not like you're going to stop someone abusing kids just because they can't get their videos seen by as many people, is it? The best result they can get is that someone loses a source of income from their paedo-files (see what I did there?) and has to get a proper job, leading to 8 abuse-free hours a day for the kid. Much as it'd suck to be that kid, is it really worth all the state censorship, intrusion, legal uncertainty and general fear affecting the general populace (especially when the alternative is "get off our arses and go catch the abuser, stopping it forever")?

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The good the bad and the ugly

    There are couple good ideas here, although I don't agree with internet filtering at all, if you're going to do it, being honest and upfront about it way more justifiable. That and an appeals process absolutely should be minimum requirements for any country than fancies itself democratic.

    But some of the other provisions are troubling, especially from this paragraph: "The law also sets minimum sentences for those found guilty of 22 child abuse offences. New offences such as "grooming" have also been created. Employers get the right to obtain information on employees' previous sex offences."

    Minimum sentences are generally bad idea, especially if we're talking about about child porn type crimes that don't directly hurt anyone. And trying to impose them at an international level strikes me as an *extraordinarily* bad idea.

    Then there's the grooming thing. That worries me. Obviously it's valuable to be able to prosecute someone before they complete a criminal act, provided they were unambiguously trying to do so. But that's what attempted- crimes for. For instance in those internet sex stings (a la Criss Hansen) it's standard practice to nail the guy for attempted statutory rape. I see no reason they couldn't do the same when a real child is involved.

    But if they're making "grooming" a separate crime, it sounds as if they intend to target acts that don't obviously lead to a specific crime, like simply befriending a child. And presumably they could take another step back and get you for "attempted grooming" which would be like saying "hi" to a kid or something. I'm only half joking.

    Finally: "Employers get the right to obtain information on employees' previous sex offences." WTF. Unless the law is actually way more narrowly tailored than this description, that is... I don't even know. But it sounds like the first step towards either a system like the one the UK is working hard to get rid of right now or a US-style sex offender registry. And PLEASE, don't follow in our footsteps on that one, it's an unmitigated failure, it's just that no one is brave enough to fix it for fear of looking "soft on pedos".

  12. mark l 2 Silver badge

    simpsons porn

    The new Euro law doesn't seem to solve the problem that what may be illegal in one member state is legal in another. Take the pseudo kiddy cartoon porn which is illegal in the UK but not necessarily in other EU countries. Even images of real people vary from country to country, for instance in some countries mere nudity of a kid may be illegal while in other more liberal countries nude photos are legal as long as they is no sexual activity.

    AFAIK there is no country in the world where real kiddy porn is legal for peadophiles to safely host the images so i expect they are hosted on legitimate servers that have been hacked or free hosting providers both of which would take down the images once they were reported. I doubt even the bullet proof hosting providers would let kiddy porn knowingly be hosted.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Don't be so Southern....

    outwith is a perfectly cromulent word, and it was a pleasant surprise to see it used so appropriately

  14. Martin Usher

    Its the thin end of the wedge

    Child porn is one of those things that's impossible to defend so it makes a great prototyping sandbox for systems and procedures necessary to censor any particular class of information. I'm not sure that there are that many people out there that are into kiddie porn -- I didn't even know that such a thing existed until a relatively short time ago. The whole thing stinks of a synthetic panic created to allow the systematic introduction of controls -- censorship -- and the mechanisms to deny designated groups civil liberties (denial of employment, association and so on -- generally putting a class of people outside society).

    One day when all this gets used to control other deviants -- political deviants -- then it will be too late to complain. So while your local child perv may not be the most savory person to know their fight is our fight.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not good enough!

    "Employers get the right to obtain information on employees' previous sex offences."

    This is unacceptably weak: I demand information on employees' -future- sex offenses as well. Why are they unwilling to take this most obvious of steps? I think we deserve to know the truth!

    1. Circadian

      @Not good enough!

      Definitely not good enough! Shouldn't a prospective employee also be allowed to know their prospective boss' records too? Along with their direct managers?

      Unfortunately, there is a better case for this than the employer knowing about the employee's past, considering the number of cases of workplace harassment existing where the senior person takes advantage of the junior grade.

      Wish I could use the joke icon for this, but the subject is too serious to allow that.

  16. P. Lee Silver badge

    Thin end of the wedge, part deux.

    Not just the thin end of the wedge for censorship, but for EU power extension.

    Remind me again why this needs to come from the EU?

    What is the pressing need to have the EU legislate on this rather than providing sample legislation for member countries to take or leave as desired?

    I see a power grab by the EU, disguised with a laudable goal.

    I'm all for squashing KP, but that's a small problem. I don't want the EU taking powers from my country's government and that's a massive clear and present danger.

    Hell, road to, good intentions paved with.

  17. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    Remember the law to stop people "suspected" (not charged or convicted) of being football hooligans travelling abroad? Well somebody forgot to make it specific to football hooligans - so it's first use was to stop anti-globalisation protesters, it's also been used to stop people travelling to anti-war protests. But you can possibly object to a law against football hooligans can you.

    So now a law against child porn images, well you can't possibly object to that can you ? And of course the law couldn't be expanded to include terrorism images, or images of other crimes?

    Pretty soon a web site showing pictures of local speed cameras will be banned.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Great lots more age of conscent to max age of child pr0n stupidity.

    I assume that their definition of child pr0n is depictions of anyone under 18. And since the age of consent in Europe can go all the way down to 13 (yes I know, pretty wrong). We get into this stupid situation, Europe wide of being a sex offender for having pictures of someone you can legally be intimate with.

    This is the problem with making a sweeping law like this over the top of local country laws. The US has the same problem with conflicts between State and Federal laws.

    But lets not worry about these stupid scenarios created by this law and the betrayal of our stand against censorship. There are pedos to catch.

  19. Ally J
    Black Helicopters

    We don't seem to learn, do we?

    This is legislation that is going to be mis-used by the authorities before the ink is dry on it. I can see it being used to take down sites like FITwatch. Of course, FITwatch will be able to show that the takedown was based on erroneous information, but only after a couple of months and big legal fees. Meanwhile an underfunded plod gets to show it's working hard and the Daily Mail readership is content.

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward

      last time i checked...

      ...Free societies punished actual crimes, not maybe crimes. Or do you want to get your license revoked for "preparing to street race" when you buy a supercharger for your Civic?

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Define child abuse

    I would be extremely surprised if they have taken the trouble to define what child abuse is and therein lies the danger. Some of the stuff asserted to be "child abuse", as if it had some objective justification, beggars belief. Unfortunately most of it is dealt with, effectively, in secret. We are not allowed to really know what is being done in our name. The problem is not serious child abuse, there is little dispute about that, it is around the edges where prejudice can rule that we find the nonsense and some of that nonsense results in very real harm to the children and young people that it is supposed to be protecting. The people responsible don't seem to care about either that or the collateral damage to any adults who may be caught in the cross fire.

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