European Internet Forum – untransparent and dangerous

By EDRi · December 2, 2015

The European Internet Forum will finally be launched on 3 December by the European Commission. The purpose of the initiative is to fight terrorism by large online companies doing things that seem like they might be useful to fight terrorism.

“It is fanciful to the point of being childish to believe that online giants are going to stumble on worthwhile solutions to dealing with online terrorism. This initiative has no democratic legitimacy, no clear problem identification, no accountability and no review process”

, said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights

The EU institutions apparently believe that the key task is to pile enough public relations problems on Internet companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter that this becomes a serious problem for them. The assumption appears to be that the Internet companies will then implement measures that are evidence-based, effective and proportionate. Furthermore, it appears that the European Commission believes that the solutions will – in the ever-changing online environment – be consistently effective and that there is, despite solid evidence to the contrary, no risk that the measures will be counter-productive.

The promise that civil society will be involved in the European Internet Forum, repeated most recently in a European Commission press release on 17 November, has not, yet at least, been fulfilled.

The initiative is the latest in a very long line of failed initiatives from the EU to persuade Internet companies to solve public policy problems. Other examples include:

Read more:

Launch of the EU Internet Forum – behind closed doors and without civil society (05.08.2015)

EU Commission: IT companies to fix “terrorist use of the Internet” (06.10.2015)

EU Commission set to re-brand the failed CleanIT project (03.06.2015)