back to article Euro Commission gives tech firms an hour to take down terror content

The European Commission has given tech firms three months to set up systems that will allow them to take down terrorist content within an hour. The Commission's missive is a recommendation and builds on a communication made last September – although it is technically a legal text in EU-ese, it isn't legally binding for the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who determines who is a terrorist ?

    If someone alleged that Theresa May was a terrorist, would all mention of her suddenly disappear from the Internet ?

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

      You beat me to it

      I think some phrase about throwing stuff down a memory hole when it no longer fitted the facts the party wanted transmitted rings a bell here

      Welcome to 1984.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

        You beat me to it

        I think some phrase about throwing stuff down a memory hole when it no longer fitted the facts the party wanted transmitted rings a bell here

        Welcome to 1984.

        Many of us saw the true intentions of the ever more Orwellian Euro superstate long ago, which is precisely why we want to LEAVE.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

          Fortunately once free of the Orwellian Euro superstate we will have the wise guidance of Amber Rudd to protect us. Free of any interference from some court of human rights.

          1. codejunky Silver badge

            Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

            @ Yet Another Anonymous coward

            "Fortunately once free of the Orwellian Euro superstate we will have the wise guidance of Amber Rudd to protect us"

            But unlike the EU we will be able to vote the government out!

            "Free of any interference from some court of human rights."

            Are you saying the court of human rights is going to step in on this issue? And isnt that a separate institution from the EU?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

            Fortunately once free of the Orwellian Euro superstate we will have the wise guidance of Amber Rudd to protect us. Free of any interference from some court of human rights.

            What planet do you barmy Remoaners live on? Will Amber Rudd be installed as empress dictator of Britain for all time the moment we leave the EU? Nope, she'll get booted out of parliament at the next election. That's what taking back control means.

            Good luck doing the same with the unelected Brussels clique.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

            Why does it have to be constantly pointed out to you people that the European Court of human rights is nothing to do with the European union? And then you have the temerity to claim that leavers are ignorant...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

              Why do leavers keep talking about unelected Brussels bureaucrats?

              The commission is put in place by representatives of all EU governments and our elected MEPs. They cannot pass laws, for that the Council of Ministers (our national representatives) and our elected MEPs must agree.

              The EU parliament can remove the commission if they feel it's not doing what they want.

              So, EU citizens can vote out MEPs and that will have an effect on which laws are passed. They can also vote out their national governments and that will change the make up of the Council of Ministers.

              I don't mind if people love or hate the EU but please do so on the basis of facts!

          4. Velofisch

            Re: Who determines who is a terrorist ?

            The European Court of Human Rights is not an institution of the European Union. It goes far beyond that and also includes Russia, Turkey, Norway and Switzerland for example.

            With Brexit, the UK will not leave the European Convention of Human Rights.

            Regarding surveillance, the UK has not been a brake to the EU's ambitions towards mass surveillance and totalitarian control - rather the contrary. Just remember, the EU is controlled by its member states and it is the member states totalitarian ambitions which are behind those initiatives.

            May be, we should be able to take down terrorist content within one hour. But I think, the risk of abuse of these powers is far greater than its benefits. So we should provide such initiatives with much better safeguards against abuse. There needs to be criminal sanctions against the abuse of these powers, fast judicial review in the country where the service is located and the suspension of these powers for authorities that have abused these powers.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not just Terrorism..this is a massive power grab for control of the Internet.

      The last one out turn off the lights...This is a massive power grab for control of the Internet. Theresa May/Amber Rudd will be pleased. Enforcement/take down based on wishy washy subjectiveness, is the way it will really work.

      "These recommendations apply to all forms of illegal content ranging from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement."

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not just Terrorism..this is a massive power grab for control of the Internet.

        They couldn't have made a more generalised broom if they tried, if you err on the of caution with that list, the only content left is Norman Wisdom films.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          the only content left is Norman Wisdom films

          No. They are suspect and will be banned [because they are very popular in Albania].

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Christoph Silver badge

    Standard tactic

    The usual trick. We can't solve this, so we simply make a law that someone else has to solve it, and impose draconian penalties if they don't.

    This means of course that the tech firms will have no practical option but to simply remove stuff that's even slightly suspicious, with no checks at all. And the governments can say "Well we didn't tell them to do that, so it's not our fault."

    1. inmypjs Silver badge

      Re: Standard tactic

      "We can't solve this,"

      Solve what? The problem is idiot politicians and technocrats who think shit posted on the internet turns people into terrorists.

      If they really believe that people are significantly influenced by shit on the internet all they need to do is posts contrary shit in equal amounts.

      1. Daggerchild Silver badge

        Re: Standard tactic

        Oh humans really can be corroded by malignant information exposure, doubt-toxin, buffer-overflow, trustlink-transplant etc etc. I mean, what is a cult if not that? What is religion?

        There are solutions, but nobody will want to use them - it would involve each individual spending time, working on their connections, pulling some closer, pushing others further away, and not being able to shed your identifier without losing everything you worked on.

        1. Bernard M. Orwell Silver badge

          Re: Standard tactic

          "Oh humans really can be corroded by malignant information exposure, doubt-toxin, buffer-overflow, trustlink-transplant etc etc. I mean, what is a cult if not that? What is religion?"

          The evidence is that playing video games or enjoying violent movies won't turn you into a psychopath, but I'd hesitate to underestimate the power of social meeja to convince people that something is right to a point where they act upon it. By way of example, I offer you 3rd and 4th wave feminism and how the nonsense coming from that camp is now informing and adjusting social policy and law throughout the western world. If you think someone can't be radicalized beyond all reason by online opinions have a google for "triggerlypuff".

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. GrumpyOldBloke

          Re: Standard tactic

          Just as there is a symbiotic link between police and criminals, so to between governments and terrorists. (If not symbiotic then directly funded). Terrorism is the gift that keeps on giving, influencing all sorts of power grabs like the one above. As there aren't enough real threats to justify the security and military apparatuses that have been built, we have to make some. This is similar to the situation before the great war, or the war to end all wars, whereby large standing armies were bankrupting the kingdoms of Europe and rational deescalation was abandoned in favour of Russian roulette. The only winners were the banks.

  3. alain williams Silver badge

    This stuff terrifies me ...

    can we please have it removed from the EU web site.

  4. codejunky Silver badge

    Really?

    No just no. This isnt legally enforced but if you dont do it we will. That is setting laws without having to write them down. This is not a good direction for any government to travel. Off the books laws are shady on their own. But assuming some benevolent government to create this, it opens up the field to more malevolent control under future governments.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Really?

      This is not a good direction for any government to travel.

      That has been the way a succession of UK governments have treated everything around the Internet for a while. I am not going to go into detail but I have been on the receiving end more than once.

      Eu is barely out its nappies compared to Sir Humphrey Appleby and his colleagues.

      Nothing to see here. Move along.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe that's their solution for solving youth unemployment

    Checking every tweet or facebook comment.

    Repeat after me:

    As a citizen of the UK who values my freedom and my security, I feel that we should trust our elected officials to provide excellent leadership on these complex topics.

    /Sarcasm off.

  6. King Jack
    Big Brother

    Ministry of Truth

    Been scanning the interwebs for an opening as a clerk in the Ministry of Truth. I hear its a job for life.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. EricM

    Cowards

    Trying to put all of this contradicting non-sense into a law would have actually shown all its ridicilousness. Therefore they go with a non-binding "recommendation" to push everyone so when this fails or has effects on free speech and free thoughts (and it will) they can wiggle out of it.

    The EC are real cowards at that. Guys: If you feel that something need to be done then please: legislate - and take responsibility for your actions.

  8. Grooke

    If I was running a large platform like this, I'd love to just automatically send a "this content has been deleted as part of our efforts to stop terrorist content online. Please contact the European Commission for details" message show up whenever anyone tried to post anything.

    Easy way to get it done.

    1. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge
  9. Nick Kew Silver badge

    How fine-grained?

    Taking discussion from the abstract to the specific and well-known, how fine-grained should censorship be?

    Should the entire Bible be banned, or only those extensive passages that explicitly glorify acts of terror, genocide, and war?

    And what about works derived from the Bible's terror content? Like the Dixit Dominus, the slaughter to put the greatest 20th century monsters in the shade? Or the story of Elijah - the great role model for Bin Laden? Or small-scale terrorist acts like the suicide bomber Samson?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Within an hour

    Of a judge's decision having been made, I imagine?

    Or are we just going to do away with courts as well?

    This is by far the worst Commission that we have had. They are single-handedly undoing sixty years of work to stop us killing each other in this stupid continent.

  11. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Collateral damage, anyone?

    Let's trust tech-illiterate pols to spec a system for restraint of hate speech.

    Oh crap, using "tech-illiterate pols" just got this post flagged as hate speech.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Discuss

    P.K.K Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

    PLO Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

    Taliban - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

    IRA - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Discuss

      Iceland Air - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

      Dog poop droppers - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

      Fly tippers - Terrorists or Freedom Fighters

  13. Graham Cobb

    There needs to be a balance

    If there is going to be pressure (fines, or political threats) on platforms to remove illegal content, there have to be equal threats to them if they remove legal content. Otherwise, as the commission appear to acknowledge, the obvious impact (remove anything when there is any doubt at all) will happen.

    Platforms should only be removing illegal content. So, if content is removed there should be a right to challenge the removal in a court. If the court determines it was illegal then you get hit with a significant fine paid to the platform for posting it. On the other hand, if it was not, the platform gets hit with a significant fine paid to the submitter for removing it when it was not illegal.

    Make the two fines high enough and the system will not be overloaded. Although only rich people will be able to afford to take the risk involved in the challenge, it will at least give the platforms a business reason to invest in properly functioning determination processes, which should feed down to all of us.

    Some may argue that as private companies, platforms must be able to remove anything they want to. I say that when acting as an arm of the government (under the sorts of threats made in this paper) they lose that right and have to accept any and all legal postings.

  14. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    What's the definition of "tech firm"? If I manage a wiki hosted on a server in the corner of my bedroom, how do I comply with "one hour" if that's when I'm at work, out shopping or walking, or even asleep?

    1. The Central Scrutinizer

      That's your problem pal, not ours. We just tell you what to do, not how. Looking forward to draining your bank account after your first infraction.

      Regards,

      Hm Gov.

  15. aberglas

    Consult Xi Jinping Thought

    He has some excellent ideas about the need control the internet in order to prevent incorrect thinking. And the Chinese are building excellent technology to find, filter and target purveyors of such things.

    In this post 9/11 era we simply cannot expect to have the reckless freedoms that we are used to.

    Our great leader Mr Trump recently supported Xi in his efforts to become Emperor of China, but why stop there?

    This is actually more a push from Health and Safety than anything else. Traditionally we accepted the fact that bad things sometimes happen, a price we pay for freedom. But now we seek total safety, and freedom is a small price to pay.

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