Yesterday, Alexandra Koch-Skiba, Head of the eco Complaints Office, together with Maximilian Schubert, President of EuroISPA, delivered an online presentation of the new Annual Report of the eco Complaints Office for the year 2019. With this annual report, the eco Complaints Office looks back on a labor-intensive year: with 4,654 cases, the office recorded by far the highest number of justified complaints to date. In about 95% of the cases worldwide, it was possible to successfully take action against prohibited content, thus maintaining the office’s excellent track-record in the removal of illegal content. In 2019 as in previous years, a large proportion of the justified complaints involved depictions of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children and adolescents.
Combatting unlawful content must be the task of society as a whole
Effectively combatting the causes of illegal Internet content must be understood as a task for society as a whole and requires solidarity across the board. Internet providers and companies are already assuming a great deal of responsibility in this regard and are cooperating successfully with law enforcement agencies and hotlines. eco itself has been making an important contribution in this regard for some 25 years – which resonates with this year’s eco anniversary motto, “25 years of the Internet with Responsibility”. With its own complaints office, the Association of the Internet Industry is committed to ensuring that illegal content is deleted and that criminal offenses are pursued and prosecuted.
Media protection for young people
We are currently repeatedly hearing the question being voiced, both as part of political discourse and in the media, of how effective and modern media protection for young people can best be achieved. The forthcoming amendment of the German Youth Protection Act is intended above all to take account of the changing behavior of young people when it comes to media use, and to enable their untroubled participation in relevant media in safe interaction spaces.
In our work as a Complaints Office, we encounter on daily basis the challenges of dealing with reports on criminal content or content relevant to youth media protection law. Unfortunately, the current proposal to amend this Youth Protection Act would lead to telemedia providers being confronted with multiple regulations and dual supervisory structures, rather than a modernization of the functioning youth protection system. Such an approach would simply be counterproductive! What companies need is legal certainty, and not several sets of regulations which are still likely to conflict with each other.
We will consistently continue our chosen path of cooperation in order to rapidly take down prohibited content whilst at the same time being able to hold offenders criminally responsible.
Further information on the eco Complaints Office:
The eco Complaints Office has been fighting illegal content on the Internet for over 20 years. It is embedded in the system of regulated self-regulation and has, in particular, the task of improving youth protection on the Internet. Since its foundation, it has cooperated continuously with law enforcement agencies, in particular with the German Federal Criminal Police Office. All information on the eco Complaints Office’s services can be found on the homepage: go.eco.de/eco-complaints-office
Suspicious Internet content of any kind can be directly submitted here by means of an online complaint form. The report can also be made anonymously, if desired.