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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  1. 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.


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