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Civil rights groups urge EU lawmakers to reject the online terrorist content law

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The European Union flag is fluttering outside the headquarters of the European Commission in Brussels

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU lawmakers should reject a proposed law that forces Google (NASDAQ :), Facebook (NASDAQ 🙂 and Twitter to remove terrorist content within an hour of publication because of the risks. For basic rights, 61 civil rights groups said on Thursday.

The European Commission drafted legislation in 2018 following a series of attacks by extremist lone wolf attackers in several European cities, with online terrorist content considered one of the weakest. contributing factor.

The European Parliament is expected to vote on the law next month, three months after reaching a political agreement with the EU countries.

Civil rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, European Civil Liberties Union and European Union of Journalists, said the proposal threatened freedom of expression, free access to information, privacy and the rule of law.

The commission defines online terrorist content as material inciting terrorism or aimed at recruited or trained terrorists.

The short timeframe for online platforms to remove terrorist content means they will use automated content censorship tools, such as filter uploads, the groups said.

Such tools may not detect the difference between activism, rebuttal and satire about terrorism, they said.

“Increased automation will eventually lead to the removal of legitimate content such as news content and content about discrimination against minorities and underrepresented groups,” the groups said. , citing examples of the Syrian Archives and Yemen – two NGOs that save videos from conflict zones in the Middle East.

Groups also raised the issue with power given to the national government rather than the court to order the removal of terrorist content across the bloc, saying the figure was beyond the reach of the state.

Eva Simon, senior campaigner for the Civil Liberties Coalition.

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