Draft bill on terrorist content online sent out for comments
The Ministry of the Interior has sent out for comments a draft bill which lays down provisions on the authorities competent to counter terrorist content online. The proposal is related to the EU Regulation which aims to improve detection and removal of online content that incites to terrorist acts. The deadline for submitting comments on the proposal is 25 May 2022.
The EU Regulation obliges internet service providers to actively protect their services against dissemination of terrorist content. An internet service provider means, for example, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, but also smaller service providers.
Terrorist content in turn means material which, for example, incites to one of the offences referred to in the Directive on combating terrorism.
Each Member State must designate the authority responsible for removing terrorist content online
When the application of the EU Regulation begins in 2022, each Member State must designate the authority or authorities competent to issue orders on the removal of terrorist content online, scrutinise removal orders, oversee the implementation of specific measures and impose penalties.
According to the EU Regulation, these authorities have the power to oblige internet service providers to remove terrorist content or disable access to terrorist content in their services. The Regulation applies to service providers disseminating information to the public and operating in the EU, regardless of their main establishment.
In Finland, the competent authority would be the police when it comes to issuing orders on the removal of terrorist content and to scrutinising removal orders issued by the competent authority of another Member State in cross-border situations. It is also proposed that the police be granted the power to impose administrative sanctions for breaches of the obligations laid down in the Regulation.
With regard to decisions concerning specific measures laid down in the Regulation, it is proposed that the competent authority be the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom. Specific measures mean, for example, the use of technical means to detect and remove terrorist content.
Because of the Regulation’s obligation related to the independent status, it is proposed that the Act include provisions according to which the above-mentioned authorities must not seek or take instructions from any other body in relation to the exercise of the tasks under the Regulation.
Hannele Taavila, Police Director, tel. +358 295 488 568, [email protected]