European ISPs fight mandatory filter

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European ISPs fight mandatory filter

Wants host takedowns.

European internet service providers (ISPs) are campaigning against a proposal to impose mandatory ISP level filtering across the continent.

Similar to Australia's now deferred filtering scheme, the proposal, endorsed by the European Commission last December, has been couched in terms of the battle against child pornography.

The scheme demands, as a first step, that a web host expunge a page deemed to be offensive from the internet.

However, if early attempts fail, ISPs must be prepared to block the URL until the page is removed.

The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) on Tuesday began lobbying members of the European Parliament to only ratify the first component of the proposal, claiming that ISP level blocking was ineffective.

"In order to make the Directive on child sexual exploitation as strong as possible, emphasis must be placed on making swift notice and take down of child sexual abuse material focused and effective," said Malcolm Hutty, President of EuroISPA [pdf].

"Blocking, as an inefficient measure, should be avoided. Law enforcement authorities' procedures for rapid communication to Internet Hosting Providers of such illegal material must be reviewed and bottlenecks eliminated."

An attempt to introduce mandatory filtering in the UK was abandoned in 2009 after ISPs successfully lobbied against it on cost grounds, according to reports by The Register.

Similar to anti-filter campaigners in Australia, EuroISPA argued that ISP filtering could be circumvented by criminals, adding that blocking merely facilitated the "revictimisation" phenomenon.

EuroISPA said it supported non-police hotlines that internet users who stumbled across abuse material could call so that law enforcement could take action to remove the content from the internet.

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