eco Association Criticizes EU Plans for Upload Filters

In considering the final declaration of last week’s EU summit, eco – Association of the Internet Industry cautions once again against the legal introduction of upload filters in Europe.

“A proactive review of all content by providers not only means a departure from the principles of the e-Commerce Directive, but also poses a threat to freedom of expression on the Internet through the establishment of a censorship infrastructure. The consequence will be massive overblocking in order to avoid the threatened sanctions and to fulfil the legal requirements,” says Chair of the Board at eco, Oliver Süme.

Bearing in mind the ever-increasing tendency towards political radicalization of governments, also in Europe, Süme finds it alarming that these very political forces could in future have an instrument at hand with which freedom of expression and pluralism could be massively suppressed on the Internet. “Politicians should develop measures to strengthen the law enforcement apparatus, rather than introducing dubious methods and shifting responsibility that should be vested in the state onto companies.”

As early as September 2017, the EU Commission recommended the installation of upload filters in a guideline paper, according to which, in the future, online platforms should automatically detect illegal content, remove it quickly, and – using automatic upload filters – ensure that it is not uploaded again. With this, the EU Commission intends to take action not only against hate speech and terrorist propaganda, but also against copyright infringements on the Internet.

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