Proposal for a Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online and its fundamental rights implications

This Opinion aims to inform the European Parliament’s position on the legislative proposal for a Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online, presented by the European Commission on 12 September 2018.

According to the Explanatory Memorandum to the proposal, terrorists “misuse the internet to groom and recruit supporters, to prepare and facilitate terrorist activity, to glorify in their atrocities and urge others to follow suit.” The impact assessment accompanying the proposal points out that availability of online terrorist content can accelerate radicalisation, recruit terrorist supporters and facilitate or instruct terrorist activity.

The proposed Regulation follows a set of recently adopted voluntary measures. It builds on the work of the EU Internet Forum, launched in December 2015 as a framework of voluntary cooperation between Member States and representatives of major internet companies to detect and address online terrorist content. The proposal also operationalises the Commission’s Communication on tackling illegal content online, towards enhanced responsibility of online platforms. Finally, it aims to transform into legally binding provisions some of the elements in the Commission Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online, which sets up a voluntary framework of action for internet intermediaries. 

This FRA Opinion contains 11 individual opinions that relate to the following rights, namely (in the order of the Articles in the Charter):

  • the right to respect for private and family life (Article 7);
  • the right to protection of personal data (Article 8);
  • the freedom of expression and information (Article 11);
  • the freedom to conduct a business (Article 16); and
  • the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial (Article 47).

The Opinion is structured around the main fundamental rights implications connected to the scope of the proposed Regulation (definition of the terrorist content and its dissemination) as well as to individual measures proposed (removal orders, referrals and proactive measures).