Leaked draft of European Commission addresses illegal online content

A leaked draft has revealed that the European Commission has been preparing a recommendation on how members states should manage the challenge of illegal content online. Rather than encouraging member states to regulate online content, the draft proposes to move this responsibility to online service providers, such as Facebook and Google. Distinctions are made with regard to terrorist and copyrighted content. According to the draft, platforms should make ‘swift decisions as regards possible actions with respect to illegal content online without being required to do so on the basis of a court order or administrative decision.’ The leaked document has been criticised by digital rights activists. For example, Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights, is concerned that the recommendation will ‘fully privatise the task of deciding what is acceptable online or not. The only protection for user rights like freedom of expression is an unenforceable hope that certain ‘adequate safeguards’ will be put in place voluntarily by the companies’.