EU to criminalize (Internet) incitement to terrorism

With regards to the Internet related terrorism activity, the European Union’s May 2006 revised Action Plan on Terrorism included the development of policies and measures to detect misuse of the Internet by extremist websites, and to enhance co-operation of States against terrorist use of the Internet.

Within the last two years the EU considered developing further legal frameworks to remove illegal content from the Internet, including websites that incite terrorist action, and those providing manuals or instructions for homemade explosives or bombs.

The EU announced in April 2008 the amendment of the Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism. The proposed amendments intend to update the Framework Decision by introducing three new offences, namely, public provocation to commit a terrorist offence, recruitment and training for terrorism. These provisions will apply to the Internet and the EU proposals specifically refer to the use of the Internet for terrorist propaganda as well as for the dissemination of terrorist tactics and instructions on how to manufacture and use bombs or explosives. The proposals also include provisions for co-operation with Internet Service Providers with regards to taking down websites that contain such information. The EU documentation stated that individuals disseminating terrorist propaganda and bomb-making instructions through the Internet can therefore be prosecuted “insofar as such dissemination amounts to public provocation to commit terrorist offences, recruiting for terrorism or training for terrorism and is committed intentionally.”

Finally, the EU documentation states that “courts or administrative authorities will be able to request internet service providers to remove this information according to national rules implementing the Directive on electronic commerce.” The European Commission claimed that “the wording which is proposed is as close as possible to the wording of the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism.”

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