Monday, April 21, 2008

Incitement to terrorism becomes an EU crime?

According to Michael Geist's BNA reports of 21 April 08..

"European Union justice ministers have agreed that using the Internet to publish bomb recipes or call for acts of terrorism to be committed should count as a criminal offence. The 27 member states agreed on Friday to introduce as new offences "public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment, and training for terrorism" which would be punishable "also when committed through the Internet." [Deutsche Welle]"

The German source adds

"The 27 member states agreed on Friday, April 18, to introduce as new offences "public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment, and training for terrorism" which would be punishable "also when committed through the Internet."

People found guilty of "disseminating terrorist propaganda and bomb-making expertise through the Internet can therefore be prosecuted and sentenced to prison," the justice ministers said in a joint statement.

The commission's proposal would also allow EU law-enforcement agencies to demand cooperation from Internet providers in order to identify the people making such calls and to ensure that the offending material is taken off-line."

Interesting last para. This echoes what the UK government has already done with The Electronic Commerce Directive (Terrorism Act 2006) Regulations . These apply a 2 day strict notice and take down period under the ECD where the police can ask for take down of pro-terrorist material and ISPs must comply on pain of being seen as endorsing the hosted material.

But the Internet does not stop at the English Channel or even at Turkey. What is the position going to be of an apparently US hosted site like Bombs for Beginners , or this site providing downloads of the Anarchist's Cookbook (which itself recommends instead for homemade bombmaking, and does not seem to admit where it is hosted?) (And am I committing an offense by linking to either of these??)

The current UK guidance on how the Regulations apply the s 3 notice provisions of the Terroriosm Act 2006 says thusly:

"38. Section 17 [of the 2006 Act] confers extra-territorial jurisdiction in relation to the section
1 offence (encouragement of terrorism), but not to the section 2 offence
(dissemination of terrorist publications). Extra-territoriality is only conferred
in relation to the section 1 offence as it relates to encouragement to
commit Convention offences. These offences are listed in Schedule 1 to
the 2006 Act."

Schedule 1 does not however seem to contain any offences relating to encouragement of terrorism either, by publication of propaganda or educational instructions about bomb making alike. One assumes therefore the UK LEAs cannot issue a take down notice to Wikipedia (or to Le Monde's website in France either.) Is the future new EU legislation intended to allow intra-EU take down notices in the terrorism area? The French may go along with this (zut alors) but one doubts somehow that the US will agree to allow EU police to issue take down notices against their own US-hosted websites though? (What of the First Amendment and the good old Yahoo! case?)

Pangloss is not an expert in the anti-terorism area and would appreciate any helpful comments.

Pangloss has also been informed about Information Security Week 2008 which runs week from 21st April 2008. Some events look quite interesting for Internet Lawyers -- notably

23rd April Debate on the need for an e-crime unit in the UK with Charlie McMurdie, Detective Superintendent, Police Central e-Crime Unit Project ; Philip Virgo, Secretary General, EURIM; Tony Neate, Managing Director , Get Safe Online; Dr David King, Chair, Information Security Awareness Forum (ISAF).


22nd April Launch of the PwC Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Information Security Breaches Survey 2008.

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