Montag, 21.01.2019 05:43 Uhr

Terrorist content online: Council adopts new rules

Verantwortlicher Autor: Peter Schellinck Brussels, 11.12.2018, 12:00 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Peter Schellinck Bericht 4092x gelesen

Brussels [ENA] The EU is working to stop terrorists from using the internet to radicalise, recruit and incite to violence. The Council today agreed its negotiating position on the proposed regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online. The proposed rules apply to hosting service providers offering services in the EU, whether or not they have their main establishment in the member states.

"Online terrorist content has played a key role in almost every terrorist attack we have seen in Europe. It is our obligation to protect our citizens as effectively as possible. With this agreement we want to send a strong signal to internet companies about the urgency of addressing this issue." Quote by Herbert Kickl, Minister of the Interior of Austria. These providers will have to remove terrorist content or disable access to it within one hour from receiving a removal order from authorities.

If a hosting service provider fails to comply with removal orders, they may be liable to a penalty of up to a maximum of 4% of their global turnover for the previous year. Under the new rules competent authorities can continue sending referrals to hosting service providers, which are assessed as a matter of priority. In the case of referrals it is up to the service provider to assess whether the content is against its own terms and conditions and should be removed.

Furthermore, service providers will have to apply certain duties of care to prevent the dissemination of terrorist content on their services, which may vary depending on the risk and level of exposure of the service to terrorist content. They will also have to take proactive measures to address the reappearance of content which has previously been removed. Cooperation between law enforcement authorities and service providers will be improved through the establishment of points of contact to facilitate the handling of removal orders and referrals.

It will be up to member states to lay down the rules on penalties in case of non-compliance with the legislation. The proposed rules also ensure that the rights of ordinary users and businesses will be respected, including freedom of expression and information and freedom to conduct a business. This includes the requirement for hosting service providers to establish effective mechanisms allowing users whose content has been removed to submit a complaint. On the basis of this mandate, the Council Presidency will start negotiations with the European Parliament once the latter has adopted its position.

This proposal was submitted by the European Commission on 12 September 2018, following a call by EU leaders in June. The proposal builds on the work of the EU Internet Forum, launched in December 2015 as a framework of voluntary cooperation between member states and representatives of major internet companies to detect and address online terrorist content. Cooperation through this forum has improved, however it has not been sufficient to tackle the problem.

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