Brussels, 12/03/2021 – The Internet used to be considered a place of free expression, allowing for unhindered communication across national borders. Today, these freedoms are being increasingly restricted, warns the European Pirates Delegation in the European Parliament. For this reason, the non-governmental organisation “Reporters without Borders” has initiated the World Day against Cyber Censorship, which is to draw attention to abuses and violations of fundamental rights every year on 12 March.
“It is not only in authoritarian regimes such as China or Russia that internet censorship takes place. There are also such undertakings in the EU“, warns Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party).
„Legal publications such as memes are suppressed by error-prone upload filters imposed by the EU copyright reform. And the new EU terrorist content online regulation will enable illiberal governments like Hungary‘s to have websites deleted worldwide without a court order.
Currently, the Digital Services Act is being negotiated at EU level. The proposal not only lacks a ban on the error-prone upload filter censorship machines that result in massive overblocking. These filters could even be made mandatory for large platforms. In addition, platforms are to be held responsible for illegal content as soon as they are informed about it – regardless of whether they are aware of its illegality or not.
The EU currently even wants to oblige electronic communications services to indiscriminately and automatically screen all private correspondence for alleged child pornography and report suspicious content to the police, which is unprecedented in Western countries. This general monitoring has a chilling effect on counselling of victims, criminalises children and mostly accuses innocent citizens of crimes they have not committed.
The internet technically makes blanket censorship possible on an unprecedented scale. We must not allow machines programmed by international corporations to decide about our knowledge and thinking!”