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EU Warns Tech Giants To Remove Terror Content in 1 Hour -- or Else (bloomberg.com) 153

The European Union issued internet giants an ultimatum to remove illegal online terrorist content within an hour, or risk facing new EU-wide laws. From a report: The European Commission on Thursday issued a set of recommendations for companies and EU nations that apply to all forms of illegal internet material, "from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement. Considering that terrorist content is most harmful in the first hours of its appearance online, all companies should remove such content within one hour from its referral as a general rule.â The commission last year called upon social media companies, including Facebook, Twitter and Google owner Alphabet, to develop a common set of tools to detect, block and remove terrorist propaganda and hate speech. Thursday's recommendations aim to "further step up" the work already done by governments and push firms to "redouble their efforts to take illegal content off the web more quickly and efficiently."
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EU Warns Tech Giants To Remove Terror Content in 1 Hour -- or Else

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  • gee it's lonely being the only slashdot user. Now I know what it feels like to be uid 1 ?
  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @10:56PM (#56203683)
    I guess Slashdot was down as administrators were busy scrubbing all its terrorist content before running afoul of EU laws!
    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      Nah, somebody copied someone else's post and copyright infringement claim was lodged.

      Seriously though, lumping in copyright infringement in at the same level as terrorist content and child abuse, WTF? Copyright is starting to be a dirty word and it sickens me to see how corporations have even managed to twist public opinion of it, I even saw a dictionary refer to copyright infringement as theft fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. It makes my blood boil.

      • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

        TBH, we are getting to the point where swear words are considered terrorist content and homework is considered child abuse. So maybe we could put copyright infringement on the same level.

        • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

          The UK was trying to (checked - they did) criminalise glorifying terrorism, but to me that's exactly what the government and media do constantly. Want to be (im)famous? - the more people you kill the more glory you get, the media love terrorism, the government also love to ham it up to the max. Want to be even more famous - then kill people in some more novel way, add a twist, luckily for us all, terrorists have no imagination and tend to be pretty stupid.

    • by davecb ( 6526 )

      Lexis Nexus, when I was there, considered itself a publisher of law-court case reports rather than an indexing site, and so has to take down reports when the courts issue a blocking order.

      Despite well-honed proceses, it was still a panic to get a standardized dummy page through in place of the real report. Managing our part of a really huge site in Dayton, OH from Toronto, ON is not a trivial exercise.

  • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:00PM (#56203691) Homepage

    Ask for the impossible. As long as it's the law, they'll just have to do it...somehow...

    • Review everything, via ML if that works, otherwise by humans.

    • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
      You said it. It is literally impossible to review all reported content right away. Some of them might be very long, or even contain videos that are more than an hour long. Just reading or watching it all is impossible. Plus the vast majority will be borderline, containing anti-west or anarchist ideas but not outright calling for violence.

      Obviously, if this becomes law, the only way to comply is to automatically take down any reported content without review. My only hope is that they take them down just i
      • automatically take down any reported content without review.

        Unless it's not flagged/reported. Then they're in violation of the law if no one reports it with an hour.

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        Obviously, if this becomes law, the only way to comply is to automatically take down any reported content without review. My only hope is that they take them down just in the EU so those EU politicians can see for themselves what happens when you let their opposition have that kind of power.

        This. I think we're all going to enjoy watching as every EU political speech get reported by somebody as terrorism and taken down, one right after the next.

      • "Obviously, if this becomes law, the only way to comply is to automatically take down any reported content without review"

        Except

        Those responsibilities also
        imply that they should put in place effective and appropriate safeguards, in particular with a view to ensuring that they act in a diligent and proportionate manner and to
        preventing the unintended removal of content which is not illegal.

        From the Recommendation [europa.eu].

      • My only hope is that they take them down just in the EU so those EU politicians can see for themselves what happens when you let their opposition have that kind of power.

        That's exactly what they want: the power to take down the political speech of the opposition. Did you really think reports of their own speech would ever result in a take down? The whole point here is to ensure that only one voice is heard: theirs. A little bit of controlled opposition will be allowed, but nobody who opposes the great and mighty EU or its policies will ever be given any kind of platform again.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        Legally, what is or is not, with regards to content, can in reality only be defined by the courts. Whether it requires a full session or a special court. So claims that content hosting sites can review all content or that any complaint by any person for any reason, are, well unreasonable.

        The counter suite against the government should be obvious, why would you expect anyone to do you work for you. The same as who polices the roads. Should those who make roads be required by law to police the roads they mak

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      I suppose the question that they consider significant could be paraphrased as "Which is more important, FaceBook or civility?". If they're willing to scrub social media that isn't tightly monitored, then the demand isn't impossible. Of course, this requires a definition of "civility" that is operationally usable in multiple countries. Probably a next-gen AI could do it...but only by being overly censorious, and possibly also doing a lot of re-writing.

      OTOH, if they give a strict operational definition of

      • My use of the word impossible accounts for the almost certain level of imperfection with any option - automated or not.

  • Obviously nothing is done in 1 hr... and given that some of these propaganda is just mere links nothing stops the next person from creating a link using an URL Shortener or another clever method.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's going to be hard for the big tech companies to do, but one site I know of has pioneered an advanced solution to the problem by simply not letting anything get posted. Only time will tell if this strategy pays off.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:13PM (#56203729) Homepage
    The end result, like many regulations on content, some watered down approximation will be made that isn't as impossibly difficult. However, it will end up being easy for the larger companies and very difficult to impossible for the very small players. This sort of thing locks in big players. Even if one didn't have a problem with broad, government censorship (or concern about the vague nature of what constitutes terrorist propaganda) from a standpoint of not wanting everything to be run by the large players, this sort of thing should be considered a bad policy.
    • Have you ever seen terrorist posts on small blogs or forums? There's no reason if only a handful of people see it and flag it right away. That said, if a forum doesn't have a flag function it's time to add it.

      • Really small sites don't have 24-hour coverage of staff to respond to flags. You actually have to be fairly large for that, because most people on e.g. an English-language site are in the US and Europe, and there's a few hours a day where most of your volunteer moderators (paid staff? yeah right) are either going to be asleep or at work; I've seen lots of cases where atrocious unquestionably illegal content that's normally gone in minutes stays for over an hour at 3-5AM EST on some sites with dozens of mode
        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Nobody can reasonably respond within an hour, so the only real choice is the move the post objected to into a holding queue for evaluation. Possibly there could be multiple levels of evaluation with several being done programmatically. Each evaluator would either reject the post, or return it to active status. This would allow it to be removed and evaluated within an hour, but each time it was flagged it would be re-evaluated by a different method. Finally after 3 or 4 rounds it would go to the site adm

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It probably won't apply to small players.

      Take the UK as an example. There is censorship via the "Cleanfeed" system that uses a government generated block list, and there is censorship via the civil legal system where rights holders get injunctions to block certain sites. Neither is universal. Cleanfeed isn't mandatory for ISPs and most of the smaller ones don't use it. The civil legal stuff only targets the biggest ISPs like Virgin, BT and TalkTalk.

      I'm sure this still still piss some people off, i.e. the on

  • by segedunum ( 883035 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:14PM (#56203731)
    This has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with censorship. The EU is desperately trying to save itself.
    • Your precious first amendment doesn't apply in the EU.

      • by djinn6 ( 1868030 )
        I assume most of the EU nations have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org], or at least do not oppose it?

        Article 19.

        Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

        In any case, freedom of speech is an idea and it does not cease to exist when it's not codified in law.

      • Your precious first amendment doesn't apply in the EU.

        What an asshole statement from a continent that killed tens of millions in living memory largely due to lack of things like a first amendment. How's Turkey doing on their application? And Russia?

        • by Tom ( 822 )

          Russia never applied and never will. Turkey is doing badly, and if it weren't for one senile woman, would be entirely out of the race already.

          On the other hand, the exact fact that tens of millions were killed is what made us understand that freedom needs defenses. Hitler came to power exactly because nobody stopped him excercising his right to free speech. If he tried today, his party would be dissolved and he put in jail. That is what is called lessons from history. Americans can't possibly understand tha

        • What an asshole statement from a continent that killed tens of millions in living memory largely due to lack of things like a first amendment. How's Turkey doing on their application? And Russia?

          Wow. Ignorant much?

          No one is being killed and definitely not in the millions for something like a first amendment violation.
          Turkey has had their ascention process frozen precisely because of the attacks on their people and wouldn't have made it without changing in the first place.
          Russia not only is a never-was or a never-will-be, but sharing its borders with the likes of the Ukraine also struggle to become part of the EU simply because it is sharing a border with Russia.

          Get a clue man. This is the age of th

      • by Z80a ( 971949 )

        Everything that can be crushed by the EU panzer tanks don't apply.

    • by tempmpi ( 233132 )

      This has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with censorship. The EU is desperately trying to save itself.

      Nope. The Brexit mess was already enough to save the EU. Popularity of the EU increased sharply in the EU27 because of that. Trying to censor content to save them, wouldn't work, but instead hurt them badly.

      As a European it is also always funny to see how Americans are screaming "Censoship!!!!!111!" when terrorism promotion or holocaust denial is being removed, but just shrug when content gets removed due to a tiny bit of nudity.

      • I now live in Canada, but I still have my French citizenship. I still have my European passport. I still can vote in French and European elections. So let me speak as a European...

        The EU won't survive. Brexit made matters worse. First, the EU will now have to find a way to compensate for the $13 billion net annual income coming from the UK. So either the EU will have to give less to Eastern countries, which would mean Eastern countries won't see the point in staying in the EU (particular in this post-migra

        • But more importantly, since the economic catastrophe that Brussels predicted for the UK didn't happen, and obviously won't happen

          The "economic catastrophe" didn't happen, true. It didn't happen yet, because nothing changed yet, as the UK is still a part of the EU. Once the UK leaves the EU in 2019 we'll see what happens.

          If you follow the news about the Brexit negotiations between the UK and the EU it is clear that the UK has no plan and is risking a hard Brexit.
          And while that will hurt the EU some, it will hurt the UK a lot. Unfortunately, the British politicians still treat this mostly as an internal power game instead of concentrat

        • But more importantly, since the economic catastrophe that Brussels predicted for the UK didn't happen

          What the fuck? Of course it didn't happen BECAUSE WE ARE STILL IN THE EU. You've brought intop the brexit fantasist argument that if everything bad didn't happen on day 1 after the vote then everything was fine.

          Your argument is particularly stupid because no one even know yes under what terms the UK is leaving.

          Oh, and nudity doesn't have much to do with freedom of expression. What freedom of expression must

        • by tempmpi ( 233132 )

          The EU won't survive. Brexit made matters worse. First, the EU will now have to find a way to compensate for the $13 billion net annual income coming from the UK. So either the EU will have to give less to Eastern countries, which would mean Eastern countries won't see the point in staying in the EU (particular in this post-migrant era), or it would mean even more money from Western European countries, which apart from Germany, will hurt their economy.

          The western European countries will likely increase their contribution slightly. It is not just Germany, that is doing rather well and is able to increase their contribution. However, even if they don't and the EU has to reduce their subsidies significantly, this is not a big issue. The real advantage of being in the EU is the single market and not the subsidies. The EU budget is just 1% of EU GDP, while the economic effect of the single market is much larger.

          But more importantly, since the economic catastrophe that Brussels predicted for the UK didn't happen, and obviously won't happen, it means the doom and gloom argument for staying in the EU won't scare anyone anymore.

          Uh, the UK did not leave the EU yet, but it alre

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          I now live in Canada,

          I'm going to stop you there. It appears you have no idea of what is happening over here.

          The EU isn't going to fall in a heap. That was the dream propaganda of the Leave campaign. Brexit didn't start a domino effect, in fact it's quite the opposite. Watching how badly Brexit has unfolded it's made them more committed. The far-right hasn't been anywhere near successful in any of the elections, hell all they've done is manage to create a bit of a mess in Italy... which was a mess to begin with. Front Nation

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ""from terrorist content, incitement to hatred and violence, child sexual abuse material, counterfeit products and copyright infringement." ... is not like the other!

    Copyright infringement? Fucking seriously? Get bent RIAA.

  • WTF Slashdot. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:32PM (#56203781)

    As a Slashdot reader since ~2001, this is just unacceptable.

    On days I was on the internet I think I've checked them at least once a day. Even if it was just to scan headlines.

    After deleting Facebook and trying to migrate away from Reddit I've been commenting daily. That is until the problems started.

    https://meta.slashdot.org/stor... [slashdot.org]

    I actually had high hopes for the new ownership. I liked a lot of changes and whiplash actually engaged the community.

    But this is just unacceptable. Slashdot is how I survived 9/11 when CNN couldn't handle the traffic. Slashdot defined 'slashdotting' long before "going viral" was a thing. I think Coral Cache was created just for Slashdotting.

    While the comments have shifted a bit more right (politically) than I did. And the owners shifted left. (Leading to entertaining comments). And while it's not exactly the same type of news like it used to be. The moderation format and the ability to just plain hide low rated comments mean it's still one of the best places on the internet to have any sort of discussion.

    And I can't ever remember this sort of outage. Or the plethora of 5xx errors I was getting before the outage started.

    My guess is all the young guns don't know Perl like the old ones and something broke. But of all sites on the internet Slashdot is the one that should be able to handle anything.

    I know the DevOps exists to scale from a few hundred hits an hour to a few thousand a second. /0100010001010011

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Give them a break. The C90 tape that the site loaded off on their hacked together 192k Spectrum +3 probably got chewed up when they were listening to hits of the 90s on side B as they drove between data centres. That's the kind of thing that can happen to anyway, and these days it's actually really hard to find a biro and sticky tape to fix it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I can buy some life threatening ones that fit within the 10 commandments, but handbags!
    But then Oh, Tinder legal, thou shall not covert.

    Condenses down to:- This is the committees wish list of crimes and perceived wrongs, notably without priorities or jurisdictional reach.

    The Brits bitch about the rise of VPN's by people over 18. Somehow I don't see any Saudi TV channels being taken offline, while various Asian countries know the difference between civil(handbags and untested alleged copyright) and nasty cri

  • It's: EU warns tech giants to learn to do fucking magic. I imagine this will be just as effective as their cookie law, which doesn't actually ask if you want cookies, just reminds you they're there, i.e. they'll quickly realise it isn't feasible, sort of forget about it.

    Though they'll remind people to follow the law because it's the law after all, go out of your way, though we won't punish you if you don't... but it's the law. Unless they think Facebook, Twitter, et al are going to manually check everythi
    • No, they merely want the power to censor anything they don't like. The law is only a framework, an excuse to provide them with the necessary tools. The goal is to stifle political dissent; the ability to remove from public discourse the voices of anyone who disagrees with them.

      Who cares if it doesn't work for the stated purpose? They will be able to censor anyone with an opposing political view, and that's what this is about.

  • networks around EU and its demands for political control.
  • “Online platforms are becoming people’s main gateway to information, so they have a responsibility to provide a secure environment for their users,” said Andrus Ansip, EU vice president for the digital single market. “We still need to react faster against terrorist propaganda and other illegal content which is a serious threat to our citizens’ security, safety and fundamental rights.”

    Will they be taking down the CIA and other US government propaganda sites that actual
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Regarding terrorists, the public should hear and see what they have to say so that they can be informed.

    Copyright; fuck you. I'll share with friends and friends alike, if you don't like it, suck my dick.

    Child sex abuse; disgusting, but hiding it from the internet doesn't prevent it. Do your fucking jobs as investigators and detectives if you want to prevent it. This doesn't mean taking my crypto away either.

  • The EU might be a tad out of line. Just what is online terrorist speech. Much political content in the United States could be classified as online terrorist speech.

    Perhaps the EU should create its own internet.

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Perhaps the EU should create its own internet.

      You don't understand the nature of the Internet - a network of networks. EU already has created its own part of the Internet, i.e. the european backbones and interchanges. It just happens that the Internet is the part that connects all these networks together. That, exactly, is the beauty and the secret to success of the Internet. That is why it bested out the hundred or so segregated networks that existed before it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hate speech has been expanded to telling facts/truths that anyone* finds offensive. These companies should resist this or leave their countries.. Force them to setup their own postmodern firewalls to keep people from accessing the foreign services.

    You know what I find offensive, speech from fucking governments who steal 40-50% of the income from everyone.

    • You know what I find offensive, speech from fucking governments who steal 40-50% of the income from everyone.

      If you don't like the government "stealing" from you why not go move to a failed state where there's no government to steal from you?

  • If this were to happen, then how would the Eurocrats know that he's a terrorist?

  • Leaving it online makes it easier to identify terrorists.

    If the viewers get inspired and run off to Syria, that's good too. It is easier to kill them if they're all in one place.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Re "easier to identify"
      The NSA and GCHQ are tired of reporting CIA and MI6 support networks for the "moderate" rebels.
  • If the EU ministers didn't take any videos of their pre-teen orgies, then why are they so keen on being able to remove any content from the Internet as soon as it is exposed?
  • Ban Islam and segregate all Muslims who don't wish to give up their religion. Islam should have no permanent presence in the EU in any significant fashion.

    So something like that would have to be removed in an hour? I doubt my screaming on the Internet about Islam is going to be very successful, but incitement to hatred it most certainly is.

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Except that you failed in inciting any hatred. You made a political suggestation that can be discussed, with pro and contra arguments. Nowhere do you attack a person for something that they cannot change (e.g. their skin color). In fact, you make the argument in a much more calm and rational way than many of the politicians who make similar arguments make theirs.

      Nerds. Can't even incite hatred properly.

  • They are trying to bully Internet companies into being giant faggots, taking "a voluntary approach" to curtailing free speech in a way the laws of few countries in Europe would allow if it was truly done through direct government intervention.

  • Bad things don't happen, didn't happen and won't happen in the future. It seems this political climate has occurred before, Oh yeah in the late 1920's and into the 1930's. If you erase history no one can learn from it, if you hide under the blanket the boogey man can't get you. Even in the US the PC groups are busy tearing down and rewriting history because it is politically inconvenient and not sanitary.

  • It's time we stop pretending what this is all about. "Terorrism" my ass. Terrorism is a method. You cannot be at war with a method. This whole "war on terror" and "terrorism propaganda" is a big bullshit drawn over our eyes because those in charge are too timid to call a piece of coal black. Sorry, should I have said "rock of color"?

    There is a group of people out there who believe it is right to murder us. In their eyes, our crime is simply to be not like them. In their eyes, they are just and right because

  • Pretty much any "terrorism" - viol)0 ence the western establishment doesn't like - is either:

    1) Carried out by western powers, like the drone murders that started under Bush and turned into a fetish under Obama

    2) Carried out by western allies, like when Israel decides its time to murder a few thousand Palestinians or the Saudis decide to ramp up their genocidal campaign against the Houthis in Yemem

    3) Direct blowback to actions from western powers. See: all the whining about "lslamic terrorism" in Europe whe

  • It's funny how copyright infringement is thrown in the same bag as terrorist content, hatred, violence and sexual abuse. It tells a lot who's behind this..

Pohl's law: Nothing is so good that somebody, somewhere, will not hate it.

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