Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL on the prevention of the distribution of terrorist content online
TERREG, TOC, #Errorfilter, Uploadfilter auf Steroiden
"Terrorism cannot be stopped with a regulation to delete illegal content online. It can at most be a step towards a comprehensive strategy. We must be clear about this before we adopt a regulation, which sacrifices some of our fundamental freedoms, and therefore the very foundations of our liberal democracy, just to eliminate one of the many risk factors of radicalization". - Julia Reda
A noble concern
On September 12, 2018, Jean-Claude Juncker, then President of the EU Commission, declared that the Commission would propose new rules to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet within one hour. This is the crucial time window during which the greatest damage can be done. In many of the recent attacks in the EU it has become clear how terrorists misuse Internet platforms to spread their message. This was the birth of TERREG. The idea is now becoming a threat in practice to small blogs, the European digital economy and ultimately to freedom of expression.
The EU is therefore planning a regulation to reduce the circulation of terrorist online content. What are the criticisms?
For example, the regulation should apply to all online platforms that host uploaded content. So this also applies to small platforms and start-ups. And all of them are to be equally obliged to remove illegal content within one hour upon request. But this is exactly what cannot be demanded of websites that are only operated by small organizations or even individuals. They cannot provide the required 24/7 presence. In addition, one hour is also too short, for example, to perform a basic plausibility check to determine whether the upload is really illegal content or just part of journalistic reporting. Finally, not even the Commission's definition of terrorist content is really clear.
Why is the Commission's definition of terrorism so vague?
Because the EU has not yet been able to define what is considered terrorism. This is interpreted differently in the member states. As a result, only a vague definition has been laid down in the regulation. On the one hand, the definition seems to cover classic propaganda material of terrorist organizations, including construction manuals for weapons. On the other hand, it would currently also include legal content such as scientific or journalistic articles.
Durch die Verordnung erhalten in jedem Mitgliedsland Behörden EU-weit geltende Rechte. Eine ausländische Behörde kann damit in Deutschland Inhalte aus dem Internet löschen lassen, die sie selbst nach der vagen Definition als Terrorismus ansieht. Dann ist die Plattform am Zug. Sie soll die Illegalität des Uploads in Bezug auf ihre eigenen Nutzungsbedingungen feststellen – nicht etwa nach Gesetzeslage. Das heißt im Übrigen auch umgekehrt, dass sich die öffentlichen Ämter und Strafverfolgungsbehörden, die eine Löschung anordnen, formal an den Maßstäben der Plattformen orientieren müssen. Und diese sind grundsätzlich profitorientierte Privatunternehmen. Bereits jetzt sind die AGB der großen Plattformen so formuliert, dass sie alle Inhalte verbieten, die in irgendeinem Land unerwünscht sein könnten. Das führt dazu, dass auch prinzipiell legale Inhalte gelöscht werden (Overblocking).
At the same time, this gives more power to both the authorities and the large platforms.
The platforms should formally establish the criteria according to which something is considered terrorism and is deleted. Elsewhere in the Commission's proposal it is even clearer that the large platforms will be strengthened. This is because the regulation requires the platforms to use "proactive methods" to prevent uploads with terrorist content. This implies upload filters. With all the error-proneness that is already known from previous discussions: automated filters do not recognize context, satire or exaggeration. They only recognize the choice of words, the photo, etc. The development of filter technology is complex and costly, and so only the large, multi-million dollar platforms can afford it.
This means that upload filters are back in discussion in a new context.
The German government supports the regulation of "proactive methods" to the platforms. Germany holds the EU Council Presidency until the end of the year and thus represents the national governments in negotiations with the European Parliament on current legislative procedures.
This conflicts with the coalition agreement of 2018 as well as the discussions about the copyright reform, where the German government rejects upload filters as " unreasonable"!