European Parliament Moves Forward With 'Terrorist Content' Regulation That Will Lead To Massive Internet Censorship

from the because-of-course dept

Last week we wrote (not for the first time) about the really dreadful Terrorist Content Regulation making its way through the EU regulatory process. As we noted, this is Article 13 on steroids. Everything that's bad about Article 13 is worse in the Terrorist Content Regulation, even though it's getting much less attention.

Perhaps because it's getting so little attention it just sailed through an EU Parliament committee's approval process. This was in the LIBE Committee, which is supposedly in charge of protecting civil liberties. And yet here, it seems to be stamping them out.

The text, as it was adopted, states that an authority (administrative or judicial) can order any actor of the Internet to remove a content under one hour. This unrealistic obligation will destroy small and medium platforms and, in contrast, reinforce Google and Facebook which are already working together with States to enforce mass and unchecked censorship – this is the very purpose of the Regulation proposed last September by the European Commission.

Once again, the European Parliament has proved that it was unable to resist from the pressure of the European Commission and governments. After the adoption of the Copyright Directive two weeks ago, this vote is a new and even more aggressive step towards mass and automated censorship.

Apparently, the LIBE did strip out some of the other problematic elements of the Regulation -- including its attempt to effectively weaponize terms of service to be legally binding on platforms to take down content even if it's legal. However, it leaves in the 1 hour takedown demand, which is concerning. Also, some in the EU Parliament supposedly plan to offer amendments to add back in the awful stuff that LIBE took out.

The text will now go before the entire EU Parliament, perhaps as early as next week.

La Quadrature du Net has put together a campaign page to help EU citizens contact their MEPs to educate them about what a disaster this regulation will be. Unfortunately, with the issue receiving so little public attention (especially compared to things like the EU Copyright Directive), there's an unfortunate chance this thing just sails through. It's the type of thing where politicians who don't understand the issues at all will see something to stop "terrorist content" and assume "that sounds good." The fact that the EU Commission and now the Civil Liberties Committee just let this move forward is a travesty. But, as we've noted, the EU seems intent on stamping out every nice thing about the internet, so it'll just throw this one on the pile.

Filed Under: censorship, eu, eu parliament, filters, libe, terrorist content, terrorist content regulation


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 7:04pm

    Then I read the article

    Upon reading just the headline I wondered how there might be any 'Terrorist Content' posted after the filters take down all 'user generated content' as being previously copyrighted by someone else. Then I thought about which of the legacy copyright conglomerates would own up to owning 'Terrorist Content'. Then I remembered that they wouldn't know if they owned the content or not as anything user generated will be blocked due to the filters trying to do a 'good job'. Then I though about all the movie and TV shows that contain 'Terrorist Depictions' and how those might be confused with 'Terrorist Content'.

    After reading the article I am consumed with notions about 'something must be done' whether that something would actually do anything to solve the issue at hand or not. And it's the 'Civil Liberties' committee that did this. What is it about civil liberties that they don't get? Unless, controlling civil liberties to better enable the authoritarian state is their actual goal.

    At some point the citizens of the world are going to get really pissed. I would not want to be an elected or appointed part of any government when that happens, as I wouldn't give two grains of sand for any of their futures. Bite the hand that feeds you enough times, you won't get fed anymore. And that hand, might get bitten off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      TaboToka (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 5:46am

      Re: Then I read the article

      At some point the citizens of the world are going to get really pissed.

      The citizens of North Korea have been living under an extremely repressive regime for over 60 years. If they aren't willing to revolt under those conditions, do you think a world-wide internet lockdown is going to get people to start burning cars in the street?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: Then I read the article

        Wow - I'm convinced. Going to shut down all my protests and civil disobediences now that you have shown me the light.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:11am

        Re: Re: Then I read the article

        Burning cars in the street, maybe not, but revolt, yes. At the very least there is much more interaction between people and cultures now than when the North Korean dictatorship evolved (even with China's great firewall, I bet there are leaks, and Russia's attempt at cutting itself off from the Internet will have the same capacity to withhold outside information as a colander does to contain water, though it may take some time for those evolution's to take place).

        I have no insight as to the timing, though I have some doubts that it will happen within the span of what remains of my lifetime.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: Then I read the article

        The situation in NK is nothing at all like the topic at hand. The Western world is accustomed to having freedom and when those freedoms are impinged there is risk of revolt (or the less intense demonstration). NK is an extremely repressive communist regime in which speaking out can get you "disappeared". The chance of a revolt, uprising or even a demonstration there are slim to none as that government would have no issue with "disappearing" whole swaths of people to maintain its control over the rest.

        Apples and oranges.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 9:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Then I read the article

          Realistically, it is difficult to imagine how the starved and disease ridden populace is capable of doing much at all, much less revolt. But I do remember the NK soldier who ran across the border while being shot in the back. I guess they feed their soldiers a bit better than the populace. I do not recall the details but he was not in good health and it is not unreasonable to assume it was not an isolated case.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 5:21am

        Re: Re: Then I read the article

        Remember SOPA.

        Remember ACTA.

        When the people get off their bums and protest we see change.

        The citizens of NK have a regime that enables bullies and crushes all signs of dissent; if the enablers stopped cooperating, we would see change.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:32pm

      Re: Then I read the article

      "After reading the article I am consumed with notions about 'something must be done' whether that something would actually do anything to solve the issue at hand or not."

      Shitpost For Free Speech :^)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    torrential existential expired human, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:39pm

    underhanded expiry date

    They are going to get an interplanetry impact directly on their coastline to completely obliterate the entire EU and kill all the human bodies that populate that area and good ridence to them all. who needs european people if this is the result. A fine gesture to the long completely dead and decripid hitler idiot dumb ass spastic idiot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:54pm

    It will be interesting to see just how much farther the definition of "terrorism" will get stretched.

    https://bigleaguepolitics.com/lauren-southern-deported-uk-national-terrorism-act/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Apr 2019 @ 8:57pm

      Re:

      The official one you mean? Because as far as I can tell for numerous governments the unofficial definition is much like the one for 'fake news': 'Anything I don't like'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2019 @ 10:53pm

    Sure seems like the EU is making terroristic threats to the internet...guess we should make the EU remove itself from the internet in one hour.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:38am

    The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

    While the effects of terrorism on people living in Europe is negligible, politicians see it as a convenient means to ratchet up police powers. Anti-Terror laws have been turned into police batons for smashing to pieces human and constitutional rights.

    No longer is evidence required to convict people of crimes to send them to prison - a simple allegation that someone MIGHT commit a crime in the future is sufficient to lock them up for a long time, and a simple suggestion that a web site MIGHT contain something illegal (or just inconvenient?) is now sufficient to take the entire site offline, no questions asked (no judge involved who might ask). (German ISP Vodaphone just blocked a site at the request of collection society GEMA, citing some vaguely related old court case as justification).

    Qui bono? Who wants this power, and why? Is there an agenda someone is driving, or is this simply bureaucracy out of control, with people getting paid for dreaming up new laws, just in case?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Federico (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 1:21am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      Cui bono

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Filipescu Mircea Alexandru, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:17am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      It's a very simple and effective mechanism conducted in easy steps: First find something good that you wish to destroy. Then find every way in which it can be abused, and every group that is abusing it... if not enough abusers exist, secretly create or support them. Next you inflate the abuse in the media to spread as much fear as possible among people, pointing fingers at your target to direct the blame. After that you come out playing the hero, by sympathizing with the victims and yelling "something must be done". Anyone who disagrees with you trying to take control is painted as supporting the abusers, being ignorant to the big bad dangers around them, and someone who should be either disregarded as naive or treated as friends of the abusers thus also enemies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:53am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      "Qui bono? Who wants this power, and why? Is there an agenda someone is driving, or is this simply bureaucracy out of control, with people getting paid for dreaming up new laws, just in case?"

      Hanlon's Razor. Backed by Ockham and some Chomsky, i think.

      There is no agenda. Absent a "communist boogeyman" to leverage into making the fear-filled citizenry to vote for them, politicians without a driving agenda but high ambition simply use whatever force multiplier they can lay their grubby hands on to bombast out a suitable message of "Be In Fear And Trust Me!".

      Which today boils down to suitable variants of think-of-the-children legislation and tired old terrorists-are-everywhere clichés being hurled around.

      Unfortunately it's worked which means every new generation of politicians keep upping the ante, resulting in the rapid dismantling of anything remotely resembling a sane discourse around what sort of threats we actually face.

      You only need one swift look at the people in the EU commission and parliament suggesting this to realize that there is no conspiracy here - just ordinary individual power grabs with every suitably high bureaucrat trying to build a little fiefdom all their own on taxpayer's expense.

      The only agenda I can see is the one pursued by the people with the power to put the EU's power-mad empire builders to a grinding halt. The voting citizenry's almost united desire to be free of the burden of making informed choices at the election.

      Every country eats the politicians it deserves. To paraphrase "Chip".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 8:42am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      No longer is evidence required to convict people of crimes to send them to prison - a simple allegation that someone MIGHT commit a crime in the future is sufficient to lock them up for a long time

      Is this hyperbole for effect, or an actual thing the EU is doing?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 9:05am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      "While the effects of terrorism on people living in Europe is negligible ..."

      What?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 11:51am

        Re: Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By

        In 2017 there were fewer than 200 fatalities as a result of terrorist attacks which includes all attacks categorized as "terrorism" regardless of the perpetrators' religious affiliation.

        That same year there were over 26,000 fatalities due to traffic accidents.

        I know, "whataboutism", etc, etc. But "terrorism" isn't anywhere near the threat our governments play it up to be. In fact, they're doing exactly what the terrorists want -- spreading terror.

        And lets face it: There's damn near nothing we can do to stop terrorism but that same money spent on fixing dangerous intersections, patrolling problem areas, etc., would yield a lot more than 200 lives per year, only 0.8% improvement. We should focus on the real problems first. Terrorism is just a scare tactic used to extend the police state and line pockets.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab?

          I agree with your comment.

          However - the original post to which I replied made no indication it was discussing a statistical evaluation of numbers and some potential conclusion(s) that could be drawn.
          Use of the word negligible in the original post is not well defined by its context and therefore it seems to be implying that the loss of life is negligible. I suggest you tell the surviving family members that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power g

            I agree. But I'd rather the taxes were spent saving 10% of 26,000 lives than 10% of 200 lives. Any lives lost to unnatural causes are tragedies, even more reason to focus our attention where it will do the most good.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power g

            Use of the word negligible in the original post is not well defined by its context and therefore it seems to be implying that the loss of life is negligible.

            It depends on how you look at it. The loss of even a single life is meaningful. However when looking at the big picture numerically, deaths from terrorism in Europe is basically a rounding error. Now and then someone will put together some comparisons that show death rates, and numbers that low in a population that big are caused by stuff like falling out of bed, or being attacked by a rabid wild animal. Just not something anyone needs to worry about (unless your job is catching rabid wild animals).

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Apr 2019 @ 12:30am

      Re: The war on Terror - just a vehicle for a power grab? By who?

      In the last two decades have been less deaths by terrorism in Europe in total than in every year of the seventies. We do not have terrorism.

      Anyone who claims we have a terrorism problem is a fascist wanting to enact laws to suppress the people.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul Keating, 10 Apr 2019 @ 4:15am

    Non-democracy in Spain

    As much as I would love to influence my EU representative he/she is not dependent upon my votes. In Spain they are appointed by the respective political parties in proportion to the number of representative seats they have won in the general election.

    Indeed in Spain there is no requirement that any "representative" actually be from your area and those "winning" the seats are in fact nominated by the relevant political party based upon their votes garnered in the general election. The parties may fire the representative and replace them with anyone else from their party. The parties control all aspects of the representatives including how much they can earn. So, in Spain a representative is more interested in keeping their seat than doing anything of importance for the public.

    The entire vote for the party concept is ridiculous. In such a system there is no need for actual representatives (since they only tow the party lines). Rather, we could all save a huge amount if a single representative from each party showed up and was able to vote that number of votes that they represent.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 4:49am

      Re: Non-democracy in Spain

      That is the fundamental problem with the EU. They are not representing the people of the EU, but the various member states.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:01am

        Re: Re: Non-democracy in Spain

        As if the people elsewhere are being represented.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 8:00am

          Re: Re: Re: Non-democracy in Spain

          At least in the US they pretend to. They are elected on their promises, tour their constituency lying about how they've delivered on their promised instead of actually doing their jobs, and then instead do whatever their real employers (the lobbies) ask of them. Most of the people are happy (and dumb) because they believe in their chosen party rather than seeing issues get resolved.

          That's better... ... ...right?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:05am

      Re: Non-democracy in Spain

      " Rather, we could all save a huge amount if a single representative from each party showed up and was able to vote that number of votes that they represent."

      Very true, but if saving money were a primary goal, then they might be tempted to save even more money by severely raising the election threshold, thereby eliminating all but the top one or two political parties in parliament.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Filipescu Mircea Alexandru, 10 Apr 2019 @ 7:06am

    A coordinated attack against the internet

    Perhaps the biggest tragedy is people failing to see that this is part of a well organized movement to destroy the open internet, which began worldwide around 2016. America partook with SESTA / FOSTA, Britain with the Digital Economy Bill (the war on porn), Australia with the anti encryption bill, Canada with an internet tax, and Europe with the Copyright Directive and Terreg.

    This is no coincidence: It was all intended and very well thought out! You simply don't get every major country in the world launching an unprecedented attack against open technology and freedom of expression in the same time period by coincidence! The end goal is to turn the entire world into something like China... by force if the citizens oppose. What will it take for everyone to wake up and realize what's happening?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 9:09am

      Re: A coordinated attack against the internet

      Yes, but the cat is already out of the bag, the horses have left the barn and pandora's box has been opened .... omg!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Coward Anonymous (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 2:30pm

      Re: A coordinated attack against the internet

      You simply don't get every major country in the world launching an unprecedented attack against open technology and freedom of expression in the same time period by coincidence!

      No, you don't. But if there was a multi national lobby organisation with close and cosy relations to governments in those countries, it could work them to choose solutions that fit their different agendas and also are best suited to be (ab)used in its members' interests.

      So, if there was such a global lobbying you would be able see some common components in the local governments' solutions that would be useful for its members to advance their positions.

      Recent examples are...

      Ahh, there's my tin hat!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 5:25am

        Re: Re: A coordinated attack against the internet

        Actually, the copyright maximalists most likely fit the bill. They use child porn and terrorism to justify seizing control of the internet and mass communications.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Apr 2019 @ 9:51am

    Ooh boy

    “One hour”
    did Someone make fun of the European Commission by photoshopping them all in pictures of WW2 axis uniforms and collaborators of the respective countries while working?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 12:01pm

    ???

    how to bury your heads with a spoon..
    Hide what you dont like, dont even give them a choice.
    they will click a button, and HIDE it from anyone in the EU..
    But those OUTSIDE can see and post...

    LOVE IT.. Terrorists get a private intercourse INSIDE your own country, and you never get to see it..
    This is better then a PRIVATE phone line..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Blake C. Stacey (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 5:14pm

    In which the EU goes after the librarians, for some reason

    I'm sure the Internet Archive's statement that they've been served over 500 spurious takedown notices will be getting a post soon. I just want to zoom in on one of the links they report as having been flagged: the front page for their mirror of arXiv.org content.

    Europol tried to declare all of math and physics "terrorist content".

    I'm trying to imagine what could have led to that, but my mind just stops at the boggling stage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 8:34pm

      Re: In which the EU goes after the librarians, for some reason

      I believe that is in the que, yes, but for future reference if you(or anyone) find a story you think TD writers would be interested you can use the 'Submit a Story' link at the bottom of the page to send them a message about it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 10 Apr 2019 @ 10:27pm

      Re: In which the EU goes after the librarians, for some reason

      how many book burnings have there been??
      BAD BOOK, BAD...you tell people they are HUMAN, bad book.

      Bad internet, bad, you tell people LOTS of things we dont want them to know.
      Why not go back to the early 1900's and look at some Sci books, that fully explained HOW TO MAKE EXPLOSIVES..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 11 Apr 2019 @ 5:26am

      Re: In which the EU goes after the librarians, for some reason

      Europol tried to declare all of math and physics "terrorist content".

      Citation?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Apr 2019 @ 3:51am

    Its not war, its business

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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