EU counter-terrorism: “It’s about upload filters on steroids”

Patrick Breyer, shadow rapporteur of the Green Group in the EU Parliament for the planned regulation against terrorist propaganda, calls for more public support in the fight against a second wave of upload filters. The drafts of the EU Commission and the member states provide for the mandatory use of such censorship machines, the member of the Pirate Party said on Thursday at an online conference on the “secret negotiations on the EU terror filter”.

According to the positions of the Commission and the Council, providers would have to remove terrorist content within an hour of receiving a “cross-border rapid deletion order,” complained Breyer. All platforms on which you can publish content would be affected. In contrast to the German Network Enforcement Act, a minimum number of users is not required.

“What terrorist content is is only very imprecisely defined,” complained the lawyer Breyer. Terrorist propaganda would also have to be removed if it were disseminated for purposes of education, art, journalism or research and even if it was intended to “raise awareness of terrorist activities”. Upload filters are particularly dangerous here, as they do not understand the context and tend to be “systematically incorrect”.

“Legal content is also suppressed,” Breyer fears. The requirements are not only a “huge problem, especially for smaller platforms”, but also for freedom of expression. It should be noted that, according to the plans of the Brussels executive institution and the governments of the EU countries, authoritarian member states such as Hungary under Viktor Orbán could have publications in Germany deleted.

The so-called trialogue talks of the EU bodies, which take place behind closed doors, are now entering the final phase, explained the MEP. The next round is scheduled for October 29th. Breyer alluded to the debate on upload filters in the copyright directive that he saw the danger that the moderate forces in parliament could collapse and that Article 13 would come out in variant 2.0.

So far it has been the line of the MPs that host providers do not have to use automated tools, reported Breyer. The competent authorities of the Member States should also only be able to remove content in their own country. In the search for a compromise, however, Parliament had “already given up” the additional condition of a judge’s reservation.

Breyer accused the German Council Presidency of dealing with a “so-called Compromise proposal“To be completely adamant about the core problems. Instead of” proactive “measures, the paper speaks of” specific “measures that providers would have to take. With this, the member states want to tackle the question of automated instruments. For Breyer, however, it is clear that the federal government is giving up its supposedly critical attitude towards upload filters through the back door under the aegis of Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU).

An activist from the “Save the Internet” initiative, which was a driving force behind the demonstrations against Article 13, described the proposed regulation as “one of the most dangerous cogs” on the road to censorship machines. It is “about upload filters on steroids”: The Internet, “as we know it, would be destroyed”. Together with alliance partners, they will therefore call for protests in various cities next week and for sending faxes to the ministries and politicians involved. A “meme contest” is also in the making.


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