Parliamentary question by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission and answer given by Mr Vitorino on behalf of the Commission
WRITTEN QUESTION E-0095/03
by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission
(15 January 2003)
Subject: Child pornography
In his answer of 25 June 2002 to question E-1450/02(1), Commissioner Vitorino stated that "the Commission (had) decided to support the project 'International Child Exploitation Database Feasibility Study", under the "STOP II Programme Committee" and that "this project (aimed) to assess the feasibility of an international database with images of child sexual exploitation, sourced from the Internet or any other pictorial systems". In his reply Commissioner Vitorino also pointed out that "Europol, as well as the other Member States, Interpol and the group of eight most industrialised countries (was) fully associated to the project" and that "the final report (was) expected for December 2002". Can the Commission provide information on the final report of the "International Child Exploitation Database Feasibility Study"? What is the Commission's assessment of the feasibility study on the creation of an "international database with images of child sexual exploitation, sourced from the Internet or any other pictorial systems"? Does the Commission plan to move on to the operative phase of the creation of the database, and if so, when does it plan to begin?
Answer given by Mr Vitorino
on behalf of the Commission
(14 February 2003)
Following the reply of 25 June 2002 to the Honourable Member’s written question E-1450/02, the Commission is pleased to inform the Honourable Member that on 14 January 2003 the project group has formally presented to the Commission the final version of the “International Child Exploitation Database” feasibility study, which has been co-funded under the STOP II Programme. The executive summary of the feasibility study will be shortly published on the web-site of Directorate General Justice and Home Affairs.
The project group has produced various recommendations, including the key recommendation that a sophisticated networked international child sexual exploitation image database, building on the fledgling system at Interpol, is urgently required, and both technically and legally possible. The project group agreed that the database would have to take into account the different national laws governing images of child sexual exploitation and protection of personal data. Consideration should therefore be given to a model that could be distributive and allowing participation at various levels and interoperability of different existing systems.
As far as the creation of the database is concerned, the Commission is not responsible for the actual setting up of such an international database, which is left to the appreciation of the Member States and other willing countries. The project group has clearly pointed out that the work undertaken so far must be further developed, in the form of an implementation plan which could allow the confirmation and resolution of the policy and legal issues that are not within the scope of this feasibility study. Whether the decision of establishing such an international database is definitely taken by Interpol, the Commission would consider how to ensure that all Member States could benefit from its creation.