European Union-Funded Project Calls For ‘Flag This As Terrorism’ Option In Browsers

By Binu Paul email: | Jan 29, 2013 06:45 AM EST

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Internet users in Europe may soon see a button that reads 'Flag This As Terrorism' on their favorite Web browsers. Yes, you read it right. This is one bizarre solution proposed by the European Union-funded 'CleanIT' project to suppress terrorism on the Internet.

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Wrapping up its two-year-long research on 'Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme' which had received a $428,000 study grant from EU, the group published its final report just before the final CleanIT conference in Brussels on Wednesday, Ars Technica reported.

According to the report, the committee suggested that the end users should be empowered to flag terrorist content online through a "browser-based reporting mechanism" which can be done through a built-in "flag this as terrorism" option.

The project has long been severely criticized for various reasons including its high costs, vague goals, illogical suggestions, its legal outreach and for its encroachment on free speech. It would be difficult for anyone to clearly define what is a 'terrorist Web site', what all can come under the term 'terrorism' or what it means as 'promotion of terrorism.'

The commission had earlier suggested some outrageous ideas such as OS and browser-level monitoring as a condition of selling software products in the EU.

As noted in the Ars Technica report, the CleanIT group has acknowledged the below-given challenges in its pursuit to prevent online terrorist propaganda and recruitment within Europe. The challenges listed in the final document are:

 - From a legal perspective, it is a challenge to reduce the terrorist use of the Internet because: The Internet is not a single virtual society governed by one system of rule of law.

 - It is often difficult to determine which content on the Internet is illegal, also because illegality depends on the context in which it is presented and can differ worldwide and even between EU Member States.

 - EU and Member States legislation and jurisdiction covers only a part of the Internet.

 - Illegal content itself does not always lead to radicalization and terrorist acts, while content that does contribute to radicalization is not always illegal.

 - Many activities of (potential) terrorists start in ordinary, easy accessible parts of the Internet and are not illegal.

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