European online counter-terrorism group considering widespread surveillance

Leaked document from European Commission project raises concerns

A leaked document from a project set up by the European Commission to fight terrorism online reveals suggestions for wide-ranging surveillance.

The CleanIT project was set up to create voluntary guidelines to stamp out terrorism online, but a document leaked on Friday reveals that some of the suggestions would greatly hamper civil liberties.

The "recommendations" advise that ISPs should be held liable for not making "reasonable" efforts to use technological surveillance to identify terrorist use of the Internet. They also urge companies to filter employees' Internet connections and say that "it must be legal for police to patrol on social media."

Other issues that are up for discussion include making it illegal to "knowingly provide hyperlinks to terrorist content on websites", allowing only "real common names" when registering with an "Internet company." Another suggestion is that "social media companies must allow only real pictures of users."

European digital rights group EDRi, which posted the leaked document, says all this amounts to a blueprint for large-scale surveillance of citizens. "CleanIT is also duplicating the work being done by the CEO Coalition, which is aimed at child protection. Both are, independently and without coordination, developing policies on issues such as reporting buttons and flagging of possibly illegal material. And they have both discussed upload filtering, to monitor all content being put online by European citizens," said Joe McNamee of EDRi.

CleanIT's website includes a "public" version of the recommendations of the group, which are quite different from the document posted by EDRi. However, But Klassen, CleanIT project leader said that the private document was just food for discussion, despite the fact that it is entitled "Detailed Recommendations Document."

"The term 'recommendations' on the food for discussion document is misleading, we shouldn't have used that term. These are just ideas that we are collecting. Everything everyone says at the meeting is written down, but the public document contains the points that we have reached a consensus on," said Klassen.

"There is no secrecy," he continued, explaining that when all the points have been discussed the two documents will look very much the same. However the group will have a challenge on its hands as it has to present its final proposals by next March.

Klassen also refuted allegations by EDRi that the project has overstepped its mandate.

CleanIT's next meeting is in October.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?