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. 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".


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