Saturday

23rd Jun 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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

  • 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.

Investigation

UK unlawfully copying data from EU police system

The British government is abusing EU travel security systems, making and using illegal copies of outdated information, and putting innocent people at risk of being red-flagged.

GDPR - a global 'gold standard'?

The new EU privacy rules are touted as a global 'gold standard' - but Mexico's former data commissioner warns some nations are far from ready.

Feature

EU and Turkey fight for 'lost generation'

Some 300,000 school-age Syrian children in Turkey are not enrolled in classes. Fears they may end up in sweatshops or forced to beg have triggered efforts by the EU, Unicef, and the Turkish government to keep them in school.

News in Brief

  1. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  2. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  3. EU closes deficit procedure against France
  4. Romania's ruling party leader gets jail sentence
  5. EU states defer individual decisions on asylum reforms
  6. Commission opens case on Qatar gas flow
  7. EU adopts posted workers directive
  8. EU leaders to call for 'coordinated plan' on AI

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  3. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  4. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  10. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  11. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network

Latest News

  1. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  2. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  3. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  4. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  5. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'
  6. How a US firm pushed for EU €2.1trn pension fund
  7. Commission defends Africa migrant plan ahead of summit
  8. Bavaria hijacks EU migration talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us