WITNESS and partners push back against EU regulation that threatens online free expression

WITNESS has partnered with peers around the world to issue a letter to Rapporteur Daniel Dalton and the rest of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to voice opposition to the proposed Regulation on Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online.

The proposal is a serious threat to online free expression in Europe and freedom of expression globally. It is likely to inspire dangerous copycat laws and encourages increased use of opaque machine-learning algorithms to remove content—including content created by human rights defenders, alternative media, and journalists.

Leaving it up to algorithms to detect “extremist content” will create innumerable false positives and damage human rights content that is critical to ensuring accountability for perpetrators; content for which activists and journalists often risk their lives.

The ideas and concerns expressed in this letter are based on the real-world experiences of WITNESS, our partners, and the 25 other signatories. We are honored to bring together the diverse voices on this letter in defense of online freedom of expression and, specifically, the protection of human rights content.

Read more about this consortium, our opposition to the Regulation on Dissemination of Terrorist Content Online, and the full letter to the European Parliament on our blog.

Photo: © European Union 2017 – European Parliament (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives CreativeCommons licenses)

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