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European Policymakers Continue Problematic Crackdown on Undesirable Online Speech

One of the biggest technology policy debates in Europe this year is around the question of how societies should respond to a variety of online speech issues. Terrorist content, hate speech, copyright infringement, and ‘fake news’ – however defined – are key topics. These issues certainly warrant attention from policymakers, the companies that host the speech, and society at large. But the direction these policy responses are taking raises serious concerns about censorship and free expression.

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Civil Liberties Parliamentary Committee Opposes Mandatory Censorship Filter

On 20 November, the Civil Liberties (LIBE) Committee of the European Parliament adopted its Opinion on the DSM, focusing specifically on the upload filtering provision in Article 13, and recommending that the provision be narrowed to remove content monitoring obligations. As drafted, Article 13 would force internet intermediaries to use content identification technology to prevent users from uploading unlicensed copyrighted content.

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EC Will Not Push For Encryption “Backdoors”, But Member States Might

The European Commission (EC) announced this week a package of counter-terrorism measures as part of its European Agenda on Security initiative. These include, among other things, “measures to support law enforcement and judicial authorities when they encounter the use of encryption in criminal investigations”. It is heartening that the EC restates its recognition of encryption as a crucial element in ensuring both cybersecurity and the right level of security for processing personal data. We welcome the explicit realisation that backdoors, or any form of weakening online security, would have disastrous consequences for online communications and commerce.

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Tackling ‘Illegal’ Content Online: The EC Continues Push for Privatised Law Enforcement

The European Commission’s Communication on Illegal Content Online, released last week, is the latest in a long line of EU policy initiatives aimed at addressing the availability of (possibly) illegal content online. It envisages replacing decision-making by courts with that of private companies, and misses an important opportunity to provide EU-wide guidance on how notice-and-action processes should work. The Commission could have explained in more detail the obligations of those notifying content for removal, and the evidentiary standards notifications should meet to be actionable. The guidelines could have stressed the principle that decisions of legality and illegality are fundamentally for courts and judges to make, and that any notice-and-action process should provide for due process, including recourse to courts.

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EU Tech Policy Brief: September 2017

This is the September issue of CDT’s monthly EU Tech Policy Brief. It highlights some of the most pressing technology and internet policy issues under debate in Europe, the U.S., and internationally, and gives CDT’s perspective on them. Copyright in the DSM: Run-up to the Parliamentary…

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Copyright in the DSM: Good and Bad News from Member State Talks on Articles 11 and 13 Copyright in the DSM: Good and Bad News from Member State Talks on Articles 11 and 13

Before the summer, we were unimpressed with the latest developments in the European Parliament on copyright reform. In particular, we had issues with the Opinions adopted in the Committees on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) and Culture and Education (CULT). Amendments adopted by both committees would make what we already consider a bad proposal worse. Member States are now making progress in their review of the proposal, but so far the results are a mixed bag.

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