Children's charities are worried that new EU rules will block companies from finding out when users are looking up abuse videos – because it's a breach of the paedophiles' privacy.
The European Privacy Regulation is intended to protect the privacy of web users by stopping firms snooping on them.
But charities objected when it emerged the law has no exemptions even for investigating serious crimes, the Daily Telegraph reported.
That means companies such as Google and Facebook would be banned from hunting down child porn and reporting those who download it to the police.
John Carr of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety said: "There ought to be no room for doubt or ambiguity on a matter of such fundamental importance to the protection of children. Yet there is."
Javed Khan, the chief exec of Barnardo's, added: "Any regulation change should not restrict the ability of tech companies and law enforcement to work together to stop child abuse online.
"We urge the European Commission to make a simple change to the new e-privacy regulation so that all EU countries can continue to fight this horrific crime effectively."
The Home Office is now lobbying the European Commission to build a loophole in the rules allowing firms to act if they suspect a crime has been committed.
There are similar loopholes in other privacy laws such as the GDPR which came into effect this year.
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