European Union Struggles To Fight Online Terror

Jean-Claude Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker attends weekly College of Commissioners meeting in Brussels, Belgium, Februray 6, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Yves Herman)

The European Parliament recently approved a draft version of the law on Wednesday evening. The law will impose a one-hour deadline to remove offending contents posted on websites. An official of the European Commission told BBC that changes made to the text by parliament made the law ineffective.

The plans to coincide the new version to the original after the elections in May votes a new parliament. The official said that given the importance, we have to come back and work on this again with them. The new law is expected to affect social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Breakers of the new law will impose fines of up to 4 percent of their annual global turnover.

The legislation was proposed by the Commission last year. it gives internet companies an hour to remove contents that are offensive after receiving an order from a competent authority in a European Union country.

It also eliminates posts that have "Terrorist content". It includes material that incites or advocates for terrorist offenses, promotes the activities of a terrorist group or teaches terrorist techniques. In the original text, the companies are expected to impose "proactive measures" to end the spread of terrorism content.

The government will use automated tools to prevent re-uploading content that has previously been removed. Companies operating in the EU could face hefty financial penalties under the rules if there is a "systemic failure" to comply.

The European Parliament amended the text to give the websites the freedom to monitor the information they transmit or store, nor have to actively seek facts indicating illegal activity. The new amendments said that the authorities are required to give information in the procedures and deadlines 12 hours before the agreed one-hour deadline upon the issue of the order.

The authorities that deals with terrorist content posted in a European Member nation are required to contact officials in that country instead of directly dealing with the website. Daniel Dalton, the rapporteur for the proposal said during an interview with the BBC that this is a strong position from the parliament which ensures that there will be a one-hour deadline to remove content.

It also ensures safeguards for smaller platforms, ensures that there are no upload filters and preserves freedom of speech. Mr. Dalton also said that they don't think the amendments provide for effective measures. He added that it was the only possible compromise agreement which could have got through the parliament.

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