Combating child pornography on the Internet
With this decision, the European Union aims to prevent and combat the production, processing, distribution and possession of child pornography on the Internet.
Various measures enable the European Union to combat the sexual exploitation of children (1997 joint action, extension of Europol 's mandate) or the dissemination of messages with an illegal and harmful content on the Internet (Community action plan on promoting the safer use of the Internet). However, it has become necessary to introduce a specific instrument to combat child pornography on the Internet in view of the scale on which this form of crime is being perpetrated.
The Member States will take measures:
- to encourage Internet users to inform law enforcement authorities if they suspect that child pornography material is being distributed on the Internet;
- to ensure that offences are investigated and punished by setting up specialised units within the law enforcement authorities, for example;
- to ensure that the law enforcement authorities react rapidly when they receive information on alleged cases of the production, processing, distribution and possession of child pornography.
The Member States also regularly verify whether, in the light of technological developments, their criminal law procedures should be amended with a view to combating child pornography on the Internet.
In order to facilitate cooperation between Member States, a list of 24-hour national contact points and specialised units will be disseminated. Europol will have to be informed of suspected cases of child pornography and meetings will be held between the national specialised services.
The Member States are to investigate all measures which could help to eliminate child pornography on the Internet and are to exchange information on best practice. They will also examine the possibility of placing Internet providers under an obligation to advise the competent authorities of child pornography material which is distributed through them, to withdraw such material from circulation, to retain such material in order to make it available to the authorities, and to set up their own control systems. In partnership with industry, Member States will encourage the production of filters and other technical means of preventing the distribution and facilitating the detection of such material.
The Council will organise on-the-spot visits to assess to what extent the Member States are complying with the obligations arising from the Council Decision.
Depending on the results of these assessments, it will examine the need to adopt additional measures.
Entry into force - Expiry date
Deadline for implementation in Member States
|Council Decision of 29 May 2000||29.5.2000||31.12.2000||OJ L 138 of 9.6.2000|
For supplementary information:
"Freedom, Security and Justice" web page of the JFS Directorate-General of the European Commission:
- The EU Action Plan against trafficking in human beings and the sexual exploitation of children
"Area of Freedom, Security and Justice" web page of the European Parliament:
- Fact Sheet: protection of children