The Presidency of the European Union rotates among member states every six months. Right now, it is led by Estonia, Austria, and Bulgaria.
According to an official document leaked on August 30th, Estonia has been urging other member states to enact strict Internet censorship and filtering.
“As part of this proposal, Estonia is toying with the idea of having an upload filter that would be under the control of platforms and companies hosting content online, or having these platforms be liable for copyright infringing content uploaded by users,” reports IT World Canada.
Judging from the EU document (which is linked in full below), it looks like Estonia is after minute control of the Internet in Europe. This is an effort to control information flow, along the lines of the propaganda tactics of the old Soviet Union.
“Standing firmly behind its belief that filtering the uploads is the way to go, the Presidency has worked hard in order to make the proposal for the new copyright Directive even more harmful than the Commission’s original proposal, and pushing it further into the realms of illegality,” reports advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi).
Estonia’s proposals are alternatives to the 2014 “link tax” already introduced in Spain and Germany. Also known as the “Google Tax,” the link tax has the potential to inhibit access to public domain works.
The idea behind the link tax was to charge online news sites for every publication. Platforms like YouTube and Twitter would be held responsible for every tweet, video, and picture uploaded by users. But checking each and every piece of content before it is published is literally an impossible task, even for tech giants.
EDRi has compared Estonia’s proposal to China’s online censorship, and warns the EU could be heading down a dangerous path if it follow’s the Presidency’s lead.
“The consequences of these flawed proposals can only be prevented if civil society and EU citizens firmly raise their voices against having a censorship machine in the EU,” insists EDRi.
Editor’s note: This is one of the problems with the EU, it was not founded with the rebellious notion that individual freedom is paramount. It was founded by bureaucrats looking to maximize profits through enhanced trade. The don’t even realize what it is they could be losing.