The European Parliament yesterday approved a new law on takers of terrorist material, which paves the way for an hour of expulsion to become a legal standard in the European Union.
The regulation “addressing the spread of terrorist material online” will come into force immediately after publication in the official journal of the European Union – and begin applying 12 months after that.
The ensuing regime means that providers serving users in the area must act on notices of removal of terrorist material from member state authorities within one hour of receipt, otherwise they provide an explanation for being unable to do so.
There are exceptions for academic, research, artistic and journalistic work – to target the promotion of terrorism being spread by lawbreakers on social media sites such as online platforms.
Under this regime, the type of material they want is swiftly removed, including content that incites, supports or contributes to terrorist crimes; Provides instructions for such offenses; Or urges people to participate in a terrorist group.
Content posted online that provides guidance on how to make and use explosives, firearms or other weapons for terrorist purposes.
However, concerns over the impact on online freedom of expression have increased – if the platform uses content filters to reduce its risk, given the tight turnaround time required for removal.
The law does not impose a general obligation on platforms to monitor or filter content, but it pushes service providers to stop the dissemination of incriminating content – saying they should take steps to stop the spread.
It is left to service providers how they actually do this, and while While there is no legal obligation to use automated means, it seems that filters reach large providers with the risk of uncontrolled, speech-chilling takedowns, rapidly following.
Another concern is how terrorist content is being defined under the law – with warnings to civil rights groups that totalitarian governments within Europe may use it to go after critics elsewhere in the region.
The law includes transparency obligations – meaning providers must publicly identify material annually and file information about the actions taken.
On sanctions, Member States are responsible for adopting regulations on penalties, but the regulation sets a peak level of penalties for repeatedly failing to comply with the provisions of up to 4% of global annual turnover.
European Union lawmakers proposed new rules in 2018 at a time when concerns over online dissemination of ISIS content were growing.
In March of the same year the platforms were pressed to follow the one-hour informal rule. But within months the Commission came up with a more expansive proposal for a regulation aimed at “stopping the online spread of terrorist material”.
In negotiating the proposal, MEPs and member states (through the council) have seen the provisions being distorted – for example, a provision that requires a competent authority to approach such companies Those who have not received a removal order prior to release. The first order to remove the material – to provide them with information about procedures and deadlines – so they are not caught on the hop completely.
However, the impact on small content providers remains a concern for critics.
The council adopted its final position in March. Tomorrow the parliament approves a co-legislative process.
MEP Patriac JAKI said in a statement, the synergy for the law, said: “Terrorists recruit, propagate and coordinate attacks on the Internet. Today we have established an effective mechanism whereby member countries surround the European Union Terrorists can remove content within a maximum of one hour. I firmly believe that what we have achieved is a good outcome, which balances the security and freedom of speech and expression on the Internet, of the European Union. Protects access to legal content and information for every citizen, while fighting terrorism through cooperation and trust between states. “