Brussels accused of zeal in fight against online terrorists

Published on 1 October 2012 at 13:49

The European Commission’s proposal to fight terrorist exploitation of the Internet should revive the debate between safety watchdogs and defenders of digital freedoms, writes La Stampa following the publication by European Digital Rights (EDRI) of a confidential document of the working group in charge of elaborating the CleanIt project.

This project, the Turin daily reports, aims to reduce terrorists’ use of the Internet —

About two years the European Commission launched a 400,000 euro tender for a project called CleanIT, which by early 2013 should come up with a list of principles and behaviours useful for monitoring and eliminating terrorist activities on the Internet. The initiative was supported strongly by the Netherlands and received the accession of nine other countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Romania. The final result ought to come in the form not of a directive, but of guidelines that may be adopted as ‘gentlemen’s agreement’.

The provisional conclusions of the working group, however, have been leaked by one of its members to EDRI, which has put them up on its website. The NGO is accusing CleanIt of having “strayed from the goals that were initially declared, as well as from the most fundamental rules that mark European democracy and the rule of law.” EDRI denounces in particular the proposals on restricting access to Internet sites considered terrorist, on the creating of fictitious identities on social networks, and on introducing onto browsers a button to report terrorist websites. CleanIt officials were quick to point out that the proposals are only at the discussion stage, reports La Stampa.

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