Terrorist content online: the European Commission flexes its muscles, and points the finger at 22 countries!

Alexander Boero

January 26, 2023 at 6:25 p.m.


hate violence online © Shutterstock

For the European Commission, too much terrorist content is circulating online in many countries © Shutterstock

The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has issued formal notice to almost all EU member states, which it says are not doing enough to protect people from the risk of radicalization and recruitment by online extremists. .

The fight against terrorism is part, along with those against cybercrime and organized crime, of the European Union’s security strategy for the period 2020-2025. The European authorities are also working on setting up a unit that could work year-round to detect terrorist content on the Internet and in particular on social networks. And according to Brussels, it seems that we are far from the mark. On January 26, the Commission decided to give formal notice to 22 Member States for failing to fulfill their obligations in terms of combating the dissemination of terrorist content online.

Many obligations in the fight against terrorist content online not respected by Member States

What do Belgium, Sweden, Bulgaria, Finland, Czechia, Slovenia, Denmark, Romania, Estonia, Portugal, Ireland, Poland, Greece, Spain have in common? , Italy, Austria, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Latvia, Malta, Luxembourg and Lithuania?

All are the subject of a formal notice from the European Commission. The institution criticizes these 22 States for not having complied with the provisions of the regulation on terrorist content, such as the obligation to designate one or more authorities responsible for issuing removal orders and notifying their identity to the Commission. The obligation to designate a point of contact and that which consists in defining a panel of sanctions have not been respected either.

Brussels has noted the persistent presence of terrorist content on the Web, and sees this as a serious threat for citizens, but also for society in general. The institution recalls that the Internet is a powerful tool, particularly used by terrorists, whether to recruit, radicalize, intimidate, disseminate messages and even facilitate attacks.

EU puts pressure

To help mitigate the terrorist threat, the European Commission recalls that the regulation on terrorist content online (and which imposes obligations on hosting service providers and major digital platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and others) has been applicable since June 7. The latter are required to remove any content within one hour, once it is subject to a removal order from a Member State authority.

While these providers have a real role and must protect their users and fundamental rights, the Member States also have obligations and must sanction the providers of hosting services if they do not comply with their constraints. The financial penalties provided for can reach up to 4% of the global turnover of the platform concerned.

The Member States who are now on formal notice, many of whom have not put in place a sufficiently solid repressive framework, must adapt their legislation as quickly as possible to that of the European Union. They now have two months to remedy the shortcomings raised by Brussels, which could consider real sanctions in the absence of significant progress.

Source : European Commission

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