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EU Commission's Recommendation: Let's put internet giants in charge of censoring Europe

01 March 2018
by eub2 -- last modified 02 March 2018

Today, on 1 March 2018, the European Commission proposed a "Recommendation" on the surveillance and filtering of the internet by online companies.


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"The European Commission is pushing 'voluntary' censorship to internet giants to avoid legislation that would be subject to democratic scrutiny and judicial challenge", said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights (EDRi). "Today's Recommendation institutionalises a role for Facebook and Google in regulating the free speech of Europeans. The Commission needs to be smart and to finally start developing policy based on reliable data and not public relations spin", he added.

European Digital Rights (EDRi) stresses that international and European human rights law must be respected. Under human rights law, restrictions to our rights to privacy or freedom of expression need to be provided for by law and be necessary and proportionate. The European Commission's short-cut, where it puts the focus on "voluntary" measures by internet companies, bypasses democratic accountability.

Today's Recommendation is part of a worrisome trend. The European Commission has focused heavily on using the "threat" of legislation to force internet companies into more "voluntary" policing activities. These measures include:

  •     the EU Internet forum
  •     the EU Code of conduct on hate speech
  •     the Terrorism Directive
  •     the Audiovisual Media Services Directive
  •     the Europol Regulation
  •     the Copyright reform
  •     the Communication on Illegal Content Online

EDRi had given advice to the Commission previously on developing a targeted, effective and data-driven approach to fighting illegal content online.

European Digital Rights (EDRi) is a not-for-profit association of digital civil rights organisations. Our objectives are to promote, protect and uphold civil rights online.

European Digital Rights (EDRi)
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