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Killing Open Source will not reduce the number of sexually abused kids

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Brussels, 8th of September, 2020 – The Czech movie “V síti” opened a very sensitive topic of sexual abuse of kids on the Internet. However, the issue of online distribution of child sexual abuse material is not discussed only in Czechia. Based on the document which leaked from the European Commission yesterday, the institution is looking into possibilities on how to gain control over private communication of people. Vice-President of the European Parliament Marcel Kolaja stands against this approach because it would lead to less protection of privacy for all of us and our ability to own and control our own devices would be severely reduced. Besides, it will not guarantee the prevention of crime or efficient protection of victims.

“Child sexual abuse and the distribution of such material on the Internet is a tremendous problem. Therefore, coordinated European action is necessary. That is why I am glad that the European Commission is looking into it,” said Kolaja. “However, what I find unacceptable is the attempt to undermine the privacy and confidentiality of communications. Additionally, the ability of citizens to control their own devices by using Free and Open Source technologies would be endangered,” added.

I stand against child abuse in any form. We need to look into the root cause and solve the problem. The European Union has already strict rules criminalizing it. It includes penalties for offenders, protection for child victims, and measures to help prevent these. However, the Member States failed to take measures to implement it. Czechia included. That’s why the Commission started an infringement procedure against them last year. In the absence of harmonized implementation, the criminal activity might migrate from one Member State to another. It is essential to investigate crime, not break encryption, a cornerstone of Internet security. We have to focus on the victims and prevention of crime,” said Kolaja.

“I fight for freedom on the Internet and for Free and Open Source Software my whole life. Hence, I know this is not the first, nor the last attempt to gain power over our lives. We have to base our decisions on facts. Otherwise, we will end up in an Orwellian world which will be full of restrictions in the name of creating a perfect society. I will not help this dystopia to become a reality,” concluded Kolaja.

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