CleanIT is vague and dangerous according to CleanIT-funded study

By EDRi · April 24, 2013

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Deutsch: [CleanIT laut Studie unklar und gefährlich |]

The University of Tilburg was requested by the Dutch National
Coordinator on Counter-Terrorism and Security to comment on the
fundamental rights implications of the so-called “Best Practices” that
have been developed in the Clean IT project.

This report commented on a final very short document from CleanIT and
not the more outlandish proposals leaked by EDRi several months ago.

The Tilburg report argues that, given the lack of clarity on the term
“terrorist use of the Internet” and the unpredictability of the
practical implementation of these Best Practices, their effects on
fundamental rights can potentially be extremely harmful.

For instance, the Tilburg University report detected possible
infringements to the:
– freedom of thought, conscience, and religion;
– freedom of speech;
– freedom of assembly and of association;
– right to privacy and data protection;
– freedom to conduct a business;
– right to education;
– non-discrimination;
– respect for cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity;
– access to services of general economic interest;
– consumer protection;
– right to a good administration;
– right of access to documents;
– right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial;
– presumption of innocence and right to defence;
– principle of legality and proportionality of criminal offences and
– right not to be punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same
criminal offence.

The main and most recurrent risk of violation concerns freedom of
communication. A significant number of the “Best Practices” would lead
to the removal of content which hypothetically falls under ill-defined
“terrorist use of the Internet” and thus, directly harm freedom of
speech. The lack of clarity on the definition of this term and the lack
of transparency involving private parties allowed to report misuse of
the Internet could provoke censorship and limit the user’s freedom of
communication and expression. Furthermore, Internet providers do not
have the expertise to assess whether Internet content is illegal or not.
This complex task should be carried by a specific authority.

The Clean IT project raises many concerns on its compliance with
fundamental rights as the implementation of several “Best Practices”
could harm a large number of them and promote a culture of fear, as
Internet users would be constantly reminded of a potential terrorist
threat, leading to overemphasising security risks at the detriment of
due respect for fundamental rights.

Oddly, while the CleanIT project has always claimed to be open and
transparent, the organisers have omitted to provide a link to the
analysis from its first page.

Tilburg paper (01.2013)

EDRi leak of CleanIT discussion document (21.09.2012)

CleanIT project

(Contribution by Estelle Massé – EDRi Intern)