Friday

19th Jan 2018

Internet giants discuss jihad with EU ministers

High ranking officials from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft met with EU interior ministers and the European Commission at a private dinner in Luxembourg to discuss ways to counter online jihadist propaganda.

The following morning, on Thursday (9 October), EU commissioner for home affairs Cecilia Malmstrom said the Internet firms explained how they co-ordinate efforts to stop the Islamic State (IS) from uploading decapitation videos.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Tech firms and government officials met to discuss online counter-terrorism tactics (Photo: FreedomHouse2)

“It was especially them who spoke and how they worked, the ministers asked them questions, and we discussed about the possibilities of training,” she said.

Malmstrom backed away from proposing any new laws to counter the IS threat, noting that existing instruments, such as the EU’s radicalisation awareness network (RAN), are enough.

“It is an urgent problem but there is no quick fix,” she said.

RAN is an umbrella network set up to prevent people from turning towards violence and terrorism.

The plan is to increase dialogue between politicians and Internet firms.

Details remain vague, but the broad idea is to develop specific counter-narrative initiatives.

Other proposals include organising joint training and awareness-raising workshops for law enforcement authorities, Internet industry and civil society.

Jihadist groups, for their part, are using social media outlets to recruit new members.

Between 2,000 to 5,500 foreign fighters are said to have joined the ranks of radical figters since-mid 2011 in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

The figures are based on estimates from the UK-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), which believes up to 18 percent of the total come from Europe.

Ministers push for PNR

Gruesome decapitation videos of journalists, aid workers, and the cold-blood killings of soldiers and civilians at the hands of IS fighters have also prompted renewed calls to relaunch stalled EU legislation on tracking airline passengers flying in and out of the EU.

Interior ministers on Thursday were discussing how to set up an EU "PNR" (Passenger Name Records) system, despite a backlash on privacy rights in the European Parliament.

The commission tabled the airline surveillance bill in 2011, but was pushed back last spring by the parliament’s civil liberties committee.

Its initial proposal only covered monitoring air travel from outside the EU.

But the scope of the bill was expanded, at the initiative of the UK government and other member states, to also include tracking of air passenger movements inside the European Union.

Member states are now pushing to get the proposal finalised by the end of the year, with British ministers lobbying MEPs to drum up support.

“MEPs need to understand the nature of the threats, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be briefed on highly classified intelligence,” said one EU official.

Asked how the EU PNR can track foreign fighters if most do not fly straight to Syria but instead slip across the border with Turkey or via other countries, the EU official gave a mixed response.

“The best answer you are going to get is bit of a rough guess of how this is going to be used,” the contact noted.

MEPs target exports of cyber surveillance tech

MEPs have introduced a human rights clause into the export of cyber surveillance technology as part of EU-wide reforms to prevent abuse by autocratic regimes. The Strasbourg plenary will vote on the bill on Wednesday.

News in Brief

  1. EU Parliament to investigate glyphosate-decision process
  2. 'Mutagenesis' falls outside EU's GMO rules, says EU top lawyer
  3. Decision on Polish MEP's Nazi-era slur postponed
  4. Bad loans in EU decrease to 2014 levels
  5. UK demand for EIB loans dropped in 2017
  6. EIB president: Juncker fund has worked
  7. Moscovici calls for more transparency on tax havens list
  8. Commission proposes VAT overhaul

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Solutions for Sustainable Cities: New Grants Awarded for Branding Projects
  2. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersOresund Inspires Other EU Border Regions to Work Together to Generate Growth
  4. Mission of China to the EUTrade Between China, Belt and Road Countries up 15%
  5. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Calls on EU to Sanction Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Expel Ambassadors
  6. Dialogue PlatformRoundtable on "Political Islam, Civil Islam and The West" 31 January
  7. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement and Same-Sex Couples in Romania – Case Update!
  8. EU2017EEEstonia Completes First EU Presidency, Introduced New Topics to the Agenda
  9. Bio-Based IndustriesLeading the Transition Towards a Post-Petroleum Society
  10. ACCAWelcomes the Start of the New Bulgarian Presidency
  11. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li and President Tusk Stress Importance of Ties at ASEM Summit
  12. EU2017EEVAT on Electronic Commerce: New Rules Adopted

Latest News

  1. Nato prepares to take in Macedonia
  2. Taking full benefit of supercomputers in Europe
  3. Spitzenkandidat system 'difficult to get rid of', hopes lead MEP
  4. Rights NGOs face fresh threats across the EU, agency says
  5. EIB 'more sensitive' to fraud after Dieselgate, chief insists
  6. EU 'hypocrisy' condemns people to Libya, says NGO
  7. Next year's EU election at risk of Russian meddling
  8. Hungary to tax NGOs that 'help' migration