“I want to build a barrier against the flood of offending photographs by blocking access for the user,” von der Leyen told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt in an interview.
“Social neglect and abuse of children and the increasing content of child pornography online are a special issue for me. The numbers are developing at an explosive rate, and the amount of pictures has doubled in the last year,” she told the paper.
Von der Leyen plans to tighten regulations for electronic media, enlisting internet providers to immediately shut down offending sites that have been listed by the Federal Crime Office.
“The pictures are getting more and more violent,” she said. Every third victim of child pornography is younger than three-years-old, according to the family minister, who added that some federal police investigators even need psychological care because they are traumatized by the content of the pornographic videos featuring juveniles in sexual situations.
Von der Leyen said that while other European countries like Great Britain had managed to stem the flow of such images by blocking access to offending sites, the voluntary scheme had been ineffective in Germany.
She questioned whether internet providers are really interested in blocking access to such content, saying that there will be acrimonious resistance from some providers if a law is passed.
“I am destroying a booming online trade, built on the backs of battered children,” von der Leyen said. “The bitter truth is that only half of the countries outlaw child pornography. The other half just tolerates it.”
The mother of seven also announced the January introduction of a child protection and safety act that will allow the exchange of child neglect data between government departments.