Legal clarity essential in the fight against radicalisation online

Legal clarity essential in the fight against radicalisation online

Brussels 26.11.2015 - The fight against radicalisation is one that demands a coordinated response, and EuroISPA members have always sought to work with law enforcement agencies to ensure the Internet remains a safe environment for all users. In order for ISPs to properly target radical content, judicial authorities need to supply ISPs with clear and specific judgements on what constitutes radical content on the Internet.

The Internet is a global public sphere, but standards of illegality are defined on a country-by-country basis. This creates a major dilemma for ISPs, as they simply do not have the sufficient legal resources, expertise and operational information to properly assess the context-dependent legality of content. The need for clear and specific judicial guidance on whether a piece of content is illegal is particularly important in the context of radical content, as such content can often be presented in non-local languages and framed in varying political and cultural contexts.

Without this clarity, ISPs are trapped between the risk of failing to properly identify illegal content and the risk of engaging in excessive censorship, thus undermining the fundamental rights of their users. The overwhelming majority of citizens use the Internet for its inherently empowering characteristics. And in that context, we must ensure that structures are in place such that ISPs’ efforts to remove radical content do just that, and not more.

Following the European Parliament’s resolution on preventing radicalisation we urge action to ensure that illegal content on the Internet is properly policed. It is essential that such effective action is underpinned by court authority, to ensure that the fundamental freedoms of European citizens are protected from those who would wish to undermine them.

Photo: EuroISPA President Oliver Sueme