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EU lawmakers back bill to remove online terrorism content


Internet hosting services that fail to promptly remove online terrorist content could face hefty fines under a draft bill approved by an EU parliamentary committee on Monday.

The bill was passed overwhelmingly by the parliament’s civil liberties committee and faces a full parliamentary vote next week.

Companies could be fined up to four per cent of their annual turnover if they “systematically and persistently’’ violate a requirement that such content be removed within an hour after a notice by national authorities, the committee said.

However, negotiators will have to wait until the new European Parliament convenes in July after the bloc’s elections, to hash out a final deal with member states, with plenary ending for the term next week.

Agreeing with concerns by civil liberties groups and other critics, the bill does not require providers to monitor the content that they transmit or store, or to actively seek out illegal posts.

It also does not require firms to set up a de facto filter to catch such content automatically, which the original European Commission proposal called for when released in 2018.

In addition, the bill includes language aimed at small providers, noting that fines should be set to consider the freedom of information “an open and democratic society,” the committee said.

It calls for national regulators to contact small platforms when they incurred first-time notices, first giving them information and then allowing 12 hours before issuing the order.

For providers, who are repeat offenders, however, the legislation would let authorities impose additional measures.

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