Dutch govt joins with ICT sector to fight online child pornography

Dutch govt joins with ICT sector to fight online child pornography

The Netherlands is working with the ICT sector on a rigorous approach to combating online child abuse. “Bad or lax” web hosting companies will be blacklisted from September, Minister of Justice and Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus said during a digital event of the European Parliament.


The European Parliament met on 9 June to address what it calls “the scourge of online child sexual abuse worldwide.” With the advancing digitization of society, the spread of child pornography on the internet has increased alarmingly, Grapperhaus said, adding that only a common and coordinated European approach will be able to eradicate this type of crime and better protect victims.

Targeting hosting providers

The minister recently wrote to targeted hosting providers where child pornographic material was found on the servers. These companies were identified during an initial monitoring, developed by the Technical University of Delft, to improve the public-private approach to online child pornography. In the letter, Grapperhaus addressed the companies’ social responsibility to clean up the internet of (images of) sexual child abuse.

This toughened approach against child pornography and the monitoring instrument of the Delft university were announced in July 2019. Grappherhaus started a public-private partnership to keep child pornography from the internet when the government started its term in office.

The monitoring system identifies which company has child pornography on its server, as well as where and how much. The results show that the vast majority of harmful content comes online through a small number of companies. The first measurements brought 17 companies into view; these were all subsequently notified.

Monitor visualizes approach to child pornography

The monitoring system will be expanded over the coming months, and measure how long companies take to remove content after receiving a notification. A report will be sent by the university to Grapperhaus in September. The minister will then present the findings to Parliament, revealing the names and performance of companies that (sometimes accidentally) host child pornographic material.

There will be new administrative enforcement for companies that do not want to cooperate with cleaning up the internet. “Bad and lax” internet companies will risk a fine or a penalty if they do not remove images from the public web quickly enough after reporting footage of child sexual abuse.