EU's anti-terrorist Internet guidelines a waste of money, says group

The EU project is so vague that no one will take it seriously says EDRi

An EU project to draw up guidelines to reduce terrorist use of the Internet has been described as a total waste of money by independent watchdog EDRi (European Digital Rights).

The Clean IT project published its final report on Monday, but the 30-page document "meanders directionlessly from the vague to the vacuous and back again," said EDRi coordinator Joe McNamee on Tuesday.

According to the Clean IT report: "The vast majority of Internet use is legal and beneficial to its users. However, the Internet is also used for illegal purposes." Such insights cost more than ¬325,000 (US$432,737) to the European Commission, which McNamee said is money down the drain.

"On the other hand, as the policy behind the document is so bad, we should be happy that the whole project is so incompetent," he added.

The stated aim of the project, which started in 2011, was to draft a set of "general principles" and to identify "best practices".

One example of a best practice that the Clean IT document advocates is: "The legal framework to reduce the terrorist use of the Internet should be clearly explained to users; service providers should explain to their users how flagging systems work; abuse of the flagging mechanism should be prevented as much as possible." It continues, "While in practice it is difficult to assess whether specific content or activity is actually terrorist, some activities on the Internet are not, such as political speech, reporting about terrorism in the media and research on terrorism for academic purposes."

The report also notes that "Not all Internet companies state clearly in their terms and conditions that they will not tolerate terrorist use of the Internet on their platforms, and how they define terrorism. This makes it more difficult to decide what to do when they are confronted with (potential) cases of terrorist incitement."

The document continues: "In general, blocking and filtering options are considered a "bad practice", especially if it is used at state level or if it is otherwise forced on Internet users. Nevertheless, at a parental/end-user level individuals should not be limited in the possibilities to protect themselves or their children from what they believe is inappropriate."

Even the Commission's own independent evaluations of the initial proposal were highly critical, EDRi said, and commented that there was no clear path to the project's objectives and that methodology was lacking.

The project received financial support not only from the European Commission, but also government partners from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Yet the end result is "drafted so badly that it is unlikely that anyone will take it too seriously," said McNamee.

No one at the Clean IT Project responded to a request for comment.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Xiro Drone Xplorer V -3 Axis Gimbal & 1080p Full HD 14MP Camera

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on PC World

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?