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ECR MEP’s report tackles terrorist content online

4 February 2019

ECR MEP’s report tackles terrorist content online

New EU-wide legislation to tackle terrorist content posted online has been unveiled today by ECR MEP Daniel Dalton. His draft report adds teeth to the existing code of practice while maintaining an emphasis on voluntary action. The report was considered by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee today. It is hoped it will be voted on by all MEPs before the European elections.

New EU-wide legislation to tackle terrorist content posted online has been unveiled today by ECR MEP Daniel Dalton.

His draft report adds teeth to the existing code of practice while maintaining an emphasis on voluntary action. There would be a requirement on platforms to remove terrorist content within an hour if instructed to do so by national authorities, but punitive fines of up to four per cent of a company’s turnover would only be levied if platforms repeatedly failed to comply.

Sites that are regularly targeted by terrorist content could be asked to introduce targeted monitoring of posts but must pay “particular regard to the fundamental rights of users and the importance of free speech.

Mr Dalton builds upon the European Commission’s original proposals by providing greater protection for small businesses, which may not be able to meet the 60 minute deadline, and suggesting that cloud infrastructure services for companies be removed from the scope of the legislation as they do not control data and cannot remove specific content.

UK MEP Mr Dalton said:

“There is clearly a problem with terrorist material circulating unchecked on the internet for too long. Law enforcement authorities have made clear to me that terrorist content disseminates most rapidly in the first hour and that the one hour principle is vital.

“This propaganda can be linked to actual terrorist incidents and although the existing voluntary code adopted by platforms has brought improvements, it now needs to be backed up with legislation.

“However, the steps we take must be practical and proportionate if we are to safeguard free speech. Without a fair process we risk the over-removal of content as businesses would understandably take a safety first approach to defend themselves.

“It is also important to ensure that proactive measures introduced by platforms do not lead to a general monitoring of content by the back door.”

Mr Dalton added:

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure we have a strong and united European Parliament position on this important legislation.”

The report was considered by the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee today. It is hoped it will be voted on by all MEPs before the European elections.

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