The "Virtual Schengen Border" or "Great Firewall of Europe"

By EDRi · May 4, 2011

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Deutsch: [Die “Virtuelle Schengen Grenze” oder die “Große Firewall Europas” |]

During a meeting in February 2011 of the Council of the European Union’s Law
Enforcement Work Party (LEWP), a forum for cooperation on issues such as
counter terrorism, customs and fraud, a disturbing proposal was tabled to
create a “Great Firewall of Europe” by blocking “illicit” web material at
the borders of the bloc with the intention to “to propose concrete measures
towards creating a single secure European cyberspace.”

According to the proposal, the secure European cyberspace would have a
“virtual Schengen border” and “virtual access points” whereby “the Internet
Service Providers would block illicit contents on the basis of the EU

Some of the concerns raised by civil liberty groups are that there is no
clarification as to what this “illicit content” means and that innocent
sites are routinely included on such blacklists. Broadband providers are
very concerned by this proposal which would actually impose Europe-wide
censorship and believe that illegal content should be removed at the source
by the cooperation between the police and web hosting firms and not by
network blocking which, being easy to circumvent, is no real solution.

“Most absurd of all, despite all of the costs in terms of democracy, freedom
of speech and even the economy, there is no analysis of any benefit or
expected benefit that, even mistakenly, the architects of this madness
expect to outweigh the cost”, stated EDRi Advocacy Coordinator Joe McNamee.

Alarm over EU ‘Great Firewall’ proposal (29.04.2011)

Europe’s ‘single secure cyberspace’ plan under attack (2.05.2011)

Outcome of proceedings of Joint meeting of the Law Enforcement Working Party
and the Customs Cooperation Working Party on 17 February 2011- Summary of
discussions (3.03.2011)