EU working group produces the stupidest set of proposed Internet rules in the entire history of the human race

An EU working group that's been charged with coming up with recommendations for a terrorist-free European Internet has been brainstorming the stupidest goddamned ideas you've ever read, which are now widely visible, thanks to a leaked memo. The group, CleanIT, which is composed of cops, governments, and some NGOs from across Europe, has been given €400,000 to make its recommendations, and a document dated August 2012 sets out some of the group's thinking to date. As mentioned, it's pretty amazingly bad. Like, infra-stupid, containing strains of stupidity so low and awful they can't be perceived with unaided human apparatus. Here's Ars Technica's summary of the ideas in the memo:

* "Knowingly providing hyperlinks on websites to terrorist content must be defined by law as illegal just like the terrorist content itself"
* "Governments must disseminate lists of illegal, terrorist websites"
* "The Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 of 27 May 2002 (art 1.2) should be explained that providing Internet services is included in providing economics instruments to Al Qaeda (and other terrorist persons and organisations designated by the EU) and therefore an illegal act"
* "On Voice over IP services it must be possible to flag users for terrorist activity."
* "Internet companies must allow only real, common names."
* "Social media companies must allow only real pictures of users."
* "At the European level a browser or operating system based reporting button must be developed."
* "Governments will start drafting legislation that will make offering... a system [to monitor Internet activity] to Internet users obligatory for browser or operating a condition of selling their products in this country or the European Union."

Ars Technica's Cyrus Farivar tracked down a CleanIT spokesman on his home planet. But Klaasen is the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security programme manager of the office of the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security*, and he is really upset that we can read this stupid, stupid document full of recommendations that would be illegal in European law. He also can't believe that European Digital Rights, the NGO that published the leaked stupid, stupid document, didn't honor the confidentiality notice on the stupid, stupid cover-page.

* Update Cyrus sez, "Klaasen has corrected his title calling himself now the 'programme manager of the office of the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security'. Here's his LinkedIn page. He's referred to as the 'project manager,' which as far as I can tell, makes him in charge of the whole thing."

"I do fully understand that the publishing of the document led to misunderstandings," he told Ars. "If we publish like this, it will scare people—that’s the reason that we didn’t publish it. It’s food for thought. We do realize these are very rough ideas."

..."You can compare [this situation] to taking pictures of what someone buys for dinner with how a dinner tastes—you don’t have the complete picture," he added.

..."We really didn’t expect that people would publish a document that clearly says ‘not for publication’—that really surprised us," he said. "I don’t know if it’s naive. Why can’t I trust people?" [Ed: Oh, diddums]

Proposed EU plan to stop terrorist sites even more ridiculous than it sounds

(Image: Clown, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from manc's photostream)


    1. You aren’t seeing the complete picture! Surely you can’t complain until you’ve seen how it tastes! I for one welcome a heaping helping of Internet change from our fecal overlords!

    2. Yeah, that was a really stupid comparison. When someone buys eggs, flour, sugar and chocolate, you can have a pretty good idea what the end result will be like…same with this. They’ll just drown the ideas in legalese and buzzwords.
      Good on European Digital Rights for publishing this ! Never heard of these guys before. Added to the “donate-to” list.

  1. I actually think this is an effective plan for identifying terrorists on the internet. Clearly the plan is to make the internet so frustrating for regular citizens that only the terrorists will put the effort into using it. Therefore, anyone still using the internet after these proposals are put into effect is clearly a terrorist. Brilliant!

      1.  That won’t be difficult when new policies define terrorists as citizens who criticize laws or their government…

  2. “Klaasen is the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security”

    “he said. “I don’t know if it’s naive. Why can’t I trust people?””

    The national coordinator for counterterrorism and security doesn’t know why he can just trust people to do what they’re told…

      1. That is no excuse. I have an symptoms of autism myself and I know perfectly well not to trust people with secret information. Not only that but even my parents and even some of my grandparents could come up with better ideas.
        p.s. Yes, I am aware that there are different kinds of autism. I know that this might bite me in my ass but this is why you don’t put people with autism on a position where their condition does influence what they do (no, it is not discriminating because their condition does matter in this case).

  3. The ideas are so rough as to be totally wrong. No way is this a discussion document as it so going in totally the wrong direction. It shows the totally illogical thought processes of those who think they know best. They never do.

  4. Having taken part in a ‘brain storm’ this looks like normal par for course.  This really looks like slow news day material to me.  I did surveillance work for airports in Australia for a while (Part of Customs).  About 1% of what was raised in a brain storm reached reality.  The rest?  Binned, or so heavily modified it was hard to identify how it came from original brainstorm.

    Non-event at moment.  Good for raising concerns, but if you get your knickers in a knot, you need a life.

    1.  but it goes to show just how fecking wonkey these people are they they even ‘brainstorm’ such nonsense.
      I don’t think anyone in that room had hitherto used the actual internet, deeface D:

      1.  I appreciate that comment.  But at the same time.  Just take 2 moments to consider the brainstorm behind “Let’s use the technology behind the Hubble Telescope to do a mammogram”.  It’s crazy.  But it worked.  Sure.  It needed MAJOR tweaking.  Brainstorming is about putting the stupidist, craziest and ALL ideas out there, and culling those that won’t work/fly etc.  It’s part of exploring all avenues.  Would you want to go to parliament or whatever and say “We didn’t explore all avenues”?

        1.  your point is valid.

          However, the people involved in your illustration were scientists and scholars working in the best interests of common humanity, the people in this example are bureaucrats and politicians, working in the best interest of their own power.

          a brainstorm gathers up all ideas, even the bad ones, but given (as another commentator has already discussed) the unabashed self-intrest of the involved parties here, i for one doubt there are any *good* ideas amongst the silt.

          1.  Which scientists?  Which Scholars?  Please understand.  I agree that the list is a list of CRAZIES!  But some of it reads to me like a genius trying to get an idea across poorly.  I know a few guys.  Brilliant.  Couldn’t get an idea across to save themselves.  Are some of these things proposed ideas that just need to be translated from “incapable of communating genius” to “The right idea”.  How many of these ideas the ‘secretary’ or ‘minute-takers’ translation of an idea?

            This is why I think it’s slow news day article.  Yes, it needs to be kept in the light.  But it needs less sensation.

            Perhaps these are ideas which were worded differently and in a less inflamatory way, and the person that wrote it down and collated did a poor job.

            I base this purely on one (only one) personal experience.  It was a brainstorm we ran.  I suggested something.  It made sense in context of what we were discussing AT THE TIME.  Then it turned into “Abhorrent behaviour detection using megapixel cameras!”  WTF.  I talked about having extra operators monitoring live feeds at high risk areas and using ‘change in scenery’ technology.

          2. I think the bigger issue is that governments and power bodies are increasingly nervous of losing control to people through the internet, wether consciously or unconsciously. If we talk to each other, why do we need them? Terrorism is a nebulous term that can be used as a defense for any agenda to take away our digital rights and powers. Failing that, paedos are a good excuse.

          3.  IDK, I believe that we should drag all those European bureaucrats out of their cozy offices and curbstomp them, as they’re not only wasting our taxes on BS like that, but also try to build a prison around us (because that’s harder to spot than rounding us up and throwing us into existing jails).
            And they should allow us to do that, because we have the freedom to express our opinion by flipping cars, torching shit and stealing from shops. If the worst xenophobic minority can do it, hell, WE CAN TOO!

          4. “Perhaps these are ideas which were worded differently and in a less inflamatory way, and the person that wrote it down and collated did a poor job.”
            I fail to see any wording that would make these ideas less stupid. Brainstorming is one thing, willfully disregarding freedom of speech (not to mention, well, reality) is another.

          5. “…the people involved in your illustration were scientists and scholars working in the best interests of common humanity.  The people in this example are bureaucrats and politicians, working in the best interest of their own power.”
            Your own characterization is unfair.  You’re assuming a *totally* negative motivation behind this group’s actions.  Look: its *job* is security and counterterrorism — working in the “best interests” of Europe.  The fact that it’s having brainstorming sessions about the issue at all means it’s doing its job.  You may have opinions about how well it’s doing its job, but attributing some sort of monovalent bad motive is simply unwarranted.

          6. You may have opinions about how well it’s doing its job, but attributing some sort of monovalent bad motive is simply unwarranted.

            I don’t think you have to assume consciously bad motives.  People make moral decisions on the basis of emotion.  The reasons they give are almost always ad hoc rationalizations bearing no resemblance for their true reasons for doing the thing.  When you give a guy a job like “protect the internet from terrorists” he gets a charge out of the self-importance and — unconsciously — does everything he can to justify that self-importance.  This includes inflating the threat (something we’re seeing a whole lot of with respect to terrorism) and trying to justify rather more draconian measures than someone with other incentives would think was wise.

            Bad guys never believe they’re the bad guys.  Usually they think they’re actually the good guys.  Almost no one ever has bad intentions; that’s not really the point here.  People in power work to keep themselves in power and accrue more power because that’s the way the incentives are set up and because human beings are incredible at rationalizing their actions.

        2.  How many ideas were suggesting all breasts had to be shot into space? 
          We are talking about stupid and evil here.

        3. The problem here is that those ideas aren’t at the dead-opposite ends of the spectrum; they all follow the same line of thinking- heavy-handed internet censorship.
          Brainstorming shouldn’t sound like you’ve all already decided amongst yourselves what you’d like to do, and are just writing out little descriptive nuggets.

          What I’m saying is, those ideas are indeed crazy, but not in the sense that they’re wild ideas no one has ever proposed; they’re crazy in the sense that anyone who has used the internet consistently would understand they’re unfeasible to implement and equally untenable.

    2.  Brainstorming.  Y’all are doing it wrong. 
      You are supposed to bring ALL the ideas out, not just the stupid ones, 
      Or try having some people brainstorm who are not stupid. 

      1.   Just the other day we learned from animal behaviourists that corvids are able to constructively and with forethought reason about how a complex system works, to optimize the gains they get from it. Now we learn that there are hominids who utterly fail at the starting blocks when presented with an analogous task.

    3.  Did you read the linked memo? This isn’t the rubbish that was left behind on the flip-chart paper as everyone thought outside the box for an hour or two. This is the stuff they circulated for serious comment to governments, civil services, regulators and law enforcement agencies.

      1. The proposing and drafting of legislation seems more a venue to distribute wealth. The ideas are crap, but the allegiance gained from the payoff is more important. There’s no doubt that we’re going to see more of this SOPA/PIPA/ACTA stuff rise from the dead. As long as the public is as adamant as they were with SOPA in the US (and ACTA in other countries), we’ll keep our internet working the way it is now.

    4. Having also taken part in brain storms, this document isn’t a capture of a brain storming process. I can only assume you’ve not looked at the source document itself and the front page description for you to describe it as just a “brain storm”. Any document that describes content as “detailed” cannot be brainstorming ideas. This seems to be much further down the line. These are the things that have already reached high consensus in the group. So this is already post culling of ideas. The scary thing is the ones they’ve picked out to move forward.

      1. This clearly isn’t just a document capturing the brainstorming process. However, it is just an example of Daily Mail style fear mongering from Ars Technica. Far from being a representative summary of the draft recommendations, ALL of these points come from the ‘to be discussed’ sections, which have been explicitly excluded from the sections for detailed recommendations and are defined at the start of the document as ‘either new, needing reformulating or contested’ – therefore pre-culling of ideas. I’m not suggesting it’s an intelligent document, but Ars Technica is basically just cherry picking the most outrageous ideas from sections that haven’t even been agreed on by the group. One clear example of this is in the fifth and sixth points of the summary, coming under the heading ‘Real Identity Policies’. Out of the seven points to be discussed, four are talking about establishing the real identity of users and their billing processes, two are discussing the need for anonymity in certain cases as well as legal limitations to identification and one is defining the term ‘internet companies’. There is no recommendation section for this heading and it’s indicated as ‘to be discussed (new)’, which would suggest that the group is not that far from the initial brainstorming stage.
        Again, I’m not defending the document itself (and obviously just because a stupid idea hasn’t got that far yet doesn’t mean it won’t be passed in the end), but it’s frustrating to see yet another misleading ‘summary’ of a document along with a breathlessly hyperbolic headline.

        Incidentally, it seems that the plural of ‘formula’ is ‘formula’s’. Good to know.

        1.  Well, at least everybody agrees we should catch the bad ones. Some just want to do it as early as possible to avoid having them sneak past the safety net and reaching a “it’s silly but everyone implemented it anyway” kind of deal.
          Hell, I’m happy they considered privacy at all!

          1. Absolutely. Oppose the bad points now by all means, but don’t just dismiss every government document to do with the internet as ‘a collection of the worst ideas ever’. There are good, bad and boring parts to the document, along with genuine concerns about the use of the internet as a powerful tool for terrorists. It’s also a document drafted by people whose concern is to “reduce the impact of the use of the internet for terrorist purposes, without affecting our online freedom.” There are going to be a number of naive comments because the group is made of people concerned about terrorism in meatspace and not just the internet community, meaning that contributors will sometimes have a lot of experience dealing with terrorism and frustrations with the online tools terrorists have available to them, but much less knowledge of the way the internet actually works. The group has also made some steps to make the process open, including publishing draft documents (once they have actually been agreed on in the meetings) and providing an email address that you can use to send comments and proposed changes (the email address is and there’s a link to the newest document at

    5. What this really reminds me of is when you’re at summer camp and the counselor asks an open question like “what defines a plant?”, and idiot kids keep giving stupid answers like “they’re green!” and “dogs pee on them!”, and the counselor tries to be nice, writes them on the whiteboard anyway, and says, “ok, let’s see if we can’t find some other examples…”  And then someone leaked the whiteboard.  (And also those kids are being paid $400,000.)

      1. Not really, someone leaked the ideas they decided were worth keeping from the whiteboard and had already been fleshed out further and now want them to be taken even further and circulated with other groups to work on. Did you look at the source document? It’s not simply a brain storm capture.

  5. But I love the idea of the government disseminating a list of terrorist sites so we all know which sites we’re not allowed to link to. Also a “report for terrorist activity” button next to the “chat” icon on Skype would be perfect for exercising frustration during boring teleconferences. 

    1. I like that in fact if the government were to disseminate the list of terrorist sites (point 2) on a web page, they would themselves be committing illegal terrorist activity (point 1).

      It’s like one of those “how many triangles does this diagram contain” puzzles, only it’s “how much stupidity does this list contain” and you have to find the stupidity within and between the other stupidity. In this case, it may be recursively, fractally stupid.

      The Dunning-Kruger effect evident in the spokesman’s response to the leak is just extra stupid icing on the entire huge cake of idiocy.  I don’t think it’s fair to describe a process as brainstorming if the participants weren’t engaging their brains in any meaningful way.

  6. In america it wouldn’t have been “i can’t believe they did that, why can’t i trust people”.  It would have been “they’re obviously terrorist sympathizers, whistleblowers are criminals, gitmo everyone involved”

    Edit, looking at that, i feel like i should have inserted an “in soviet amerika”’s late, i’m tired, feel free to toss in your own,.

    1. It’s funny that you say that, because when I read  “Why can’t I trust people?” my response was to think of this:

  7. It would be nice if these think tanks weren’t dominated by orginization that have giant conflicts of intrest with the internet existing at all. As long as you putt cops and big media companies in charge of thinking up rules you will only get garbage designed to hand over control to them rather then recomendations that are designed to better the internet.

  8. The folks in charge of cleaning up the internet didn’t imagine their internal document getting spread over the internet? Did they get a chance to check out the internet before they started work?

    1. You read the list, right?  So clearly the answer is no, no they did not. 

      Yes, I just answered your rhetorical question.

  9. Belgian Technobureaucrats and Neurotic Mommies.

    We strap you in at birth,  pump dopamine into your brain.

    NO RISKS, only pleasure.  Women, we’ll make sure you give birth to 2.1 humanoids to fulfill your existence and keep the fertilizer coming. Men, you’re not so useful – have some online FPSes.

    This is the optimal human experience.

  10. Somewhere there’s a terrorist in a cabin somewhere who just read this and went, “Damn!  They’re onto me!  I guess I should scrap my plans for www dot justabunchofterroristsvisitingthissite dot com.”

  11. “Why can’t I trust people?” Well, YOU clearly don’t trust anyone, Mr. Klassen, since you’re interested in total surveillance of the public. Perhaps if you treated people with more kindness and generosity, you’d receive more of it in return.

  12. Food for thought? check
    Scares people? check

    But misunderstandings? Misunderstandings? What friggin MISUNDERSTANDINGS?!?

    1. Well, clearly people misunderstand that this organization is interested in the publics’ opinion, or the public would have done the polite thing and just left them alone!  /sarcasm

  13. Ok, I had assumed the title of this post was, perhaps, exaggerating.

    I was wrong.  So wrong.

    It really and truly is “the stupidest set of proposed Internet rules in the entire history of the human race.”

    Has anyone in that working group ever actually been on the Internet?  The Internet does involve computers and typing and one of those mouse thingies…  So maybe they just let their secretaries handle that part?  

  14. My Reaction to each regulation:

    — Fundraising for terrorists is already illegal. Why should references to them outside of (or even contrary to) financial support be?
    — This doesn’t seem very useful, but isn’t particularly problematic. I mean, governments do (usefully) identify terrorist groups. Can this really be considered infra-stupid?
    — Certainly website hosting constitutes economic cooperation. I really don’t have a problem with this, why is this being so widely criticized?
    — Okay, a flag for terrorism button? Anybody who knows anything about the internet knows how useless that will quickly become. This must be the stupid bit.
    — Only real names? Holy crap, I thought by know we’d known not to limit free speech on a medium that “routes around” censorship. These guys really are dumb.
    — As much as I’d like it if people stopped posting pictures that aren’t of them for use in profile images, this encounters the same problem as above. This doesn’t even indicate malice (like with SOPA and PIPA), just a total misunderstanding about how the internet works and what its purpose is.
    — Why is this a separate proposal from the voice chat flagging button? It contains all of the same problems.
    — Now this is truly infra-stupid. By what conceivable logic would it be, regardless of actual utility, the slightest bit moral to impose a system that is literally (and I don’t use that word lightly) as invasive of privacy of Big Brother. This isn’t just idiocy, this isn’t just harmful idiocy, this is criminal idiocy.

    I don’t care if you’re just tossing ideas around, some of these ideas will appear (to anybody familiar with the internet) so immediately and obviously moronic that you should be embarrassed to utter them in any context. It’s like if a chef suggests improving a dish by adding dish soap, or if an engineer suggests that, to improve fuel efficiency in an automobile, they should take out all of the seats so that people don’t weigh the car down. These aren’t ideas worth implementing, proposing, suggesting, or discussing. They’re only use is to demonstrate thoroughly that those who express these proposals cannot be trusted with the means to implement them.

    1.  How the hell are they going to verify if the name given at a social networking page is real or not? Any Ahmed Abdul Kaboom can give his name as “Joe Bloggins” and it’s gonna look legit. Hell, even “Ahmed Abdul Salaam Dontbombmi” would work.
      I’ma say… I’m an only child, but you should meet my sister online sometime.

    2.  It’s not even just Real Names, either! They want the name to be both real, and common – which, for a large part of the human race, is a literally impossible order to fulfill.

      1. It does show quite well the sort of background these “authors” come from: traditionally-wealthy closed groups with “common” geographically-concentrated names and a high percentage of bigots. Since “everyone knows all terrorists are foreign darkies”, “darkie surnames” must be suspect! 
        It’s not like some of the most dangerous terrorists in the last 50 years were white Italians, Germans and Irish people with the most “common” Italian, German and Irish surnames, right? Oh wait…

    3. On your (their) second point : it’s stupid because it’s basically equivalent to governments saying “hey, here is a list of the places where our most dangerous enemies hang out. Hate us ? Join their club !”
      Not to mention it’d be a massive waste of money ; setting up a server is stupid easy and cheap these days. Those guys (mostly guys, for some reasons, and I’m not talking only about Muslim extremists) will always find somewhere online to vent their cretinous hate. 
      These guys should really take a page from what some EU cops are doing against child porn (last decade’s hot-button Internet issue). Blacklisting doesn’t work very well, because the really ugly shit isn’t on the Internet*. Censoring websites will only drive the most motivated and competent way underground, where they will be infinitely more costly and complicated to track. What works is long, hard police work, with infiltrators and CIs and the like, to go up the food chain and catch the real baddies.

      *for the technically minded, this is the anonymous confession of a web programmer who worked for child porn traffickers – the link should take you to the part where he describes how you distribute highly-illegal content without ever getting caught. It’s obviously not really light reading, but I found the insights into this subculture equally icky and fascinating.

      TL;DR : blacklisting isn’t a very good tool against that kind of thing.

  15. Yes, this is clearly batshit brainstorming.  However, I’d just like to pick up on the comments of Seth Schoen at the EFF.  He says that he “never heard people suggest that people needed to be protected from the opinions or advocacy of IRA members, or that IRA was not entitled to freedom of speech.”

    Maybe he didn’t grow up in the UK in the 80’s and 90’s, but what he describes here is precisely what happened – not to the IRA, but to Sinn Fein, its political wing.  They were banned from directly broadcasting on TV and radio:

    It’s generally not a good idea to forget history.

  16. I think the real counter-terrorism experts went out on a heavy drinking session and left their grandmothers to resolve the whole internet terrorism problem.
    It’s the only possible explanation.

  17. €400,000 huh? Well, I guess that´s just the kind of money it takes to gather a brain trust like that. We´re clearly dealing with geniuses here.

    1.  Entertainment or propaganda.  Yes.  Why are you pointing that out? 
      What would you expect to read here? 

      What’s wrong with the headline?  It’s a headline.  It’s lurid. 

    2. I’ll make up my own mind, thanks.  BTW, where’s your blog?  I want to see all the substantial arguments and clear, steely-eyed reason you’re putting out there.

      Edit: Found it. Sucks.

  18. “You can compare [this situation] to taking pictures of what someone buys for dinner with how a dinner tastes—you don’t have the complete picture,”

    …except this’ll probably taste worse— if it ever comes to fruition. Now that it’s been leaked, I doubt it’s going anywhere.

  19. Klasson promoted his group as “the most open counterterrorism project anywhere in the world,” which might be true in the sense that I am tied for first place in the category of “most number of simultaneous live alligator births by a human male.”  You should certainly not brag about your openness then complain that, while you are “aware of the concerns that CleanIT’s proposals are conflicting with EU law” you “didn’t expect that people would publish [the document]” that proves just how much conflict is there.

    This document was circulated about a month ago.  It’s not like EdRi walked away from the brainstorm with juicy gossip and embarrassing gaffes to make everybody look bad and spread it all over the internet the first chance they could.  

    Certainly Klassen or someone could have had a chance to run the proposals past a few EU legal experts, found out which ones were obviously in conflict with EU law and add comments or markings to indicate which ones were incompatible with core legal principles.  Maybe PoPoaFaC didn’t explicitly include an obligation attached to the grant money that CleanIT provide suggestions consistent with the law, but wouldn’t any halfway honest or moral person impose that kind of obligation upon themselves?

    And if the people in charge of a program suggesting new laws and procedures either aren’t honest or moral enough to perform due diligence to square their recommendations to prevailing cultural expectations or legal precedent, what the hell are they there for? 

    1. “I am tied for first place in the category of “most number of simultaneous live alligator births by a human male.””
      Pics or it didn’t happen.

  20. From the website this group does not have any legislative / executive power to implement the recommendations. Totally agree the recommendations are very silly, but EU member states have no requirement to listen to them thank goodness.

  21. I got to the bottom of the list and was surprised there’s no mention of making crime illegal as that’d definitely make the world a safer, happier place.

  22. “I’ve not got time go to some ridiculous brainstorming session is Strasbourg, I’ve got real police-work to be doing – I know,let’s send that idiot Klassen”

    A few weeks later in a seminar-room in Strasbourg:

    “ah, Inspector Klassen, can I introduce you to the French delegate, Inspector Clouseau, and our US liaison officer, Inspector Frank Drebin”

  23. Rule#1: Anyone can put anything on the internet they like as long as it does not defraud anyone else of money.
    Rule#2: See Rule#1.
    There, fixed it for you.
    Now pay me my 400,000 and get off my lawn.

  24. The really crazy items on the list are under “to be discussed” parts of the memo, which are defined as “new, need reformatting or are contested”. Regardless of who reads it, that caveat is in a box, at the front.

    No-one’s mentioned that the contents of the memo won’t work. If you were to implement all of it, technology will be far enough ahead that it will be pointless. Technology circumvents legislation before it gets signed. Perhaps that’s what Cory meant by stupid but it’s not apparent from reading the article.

  25. Having read the document, most of the “To be discussed” material is absolutely brainless. Great part of Recommendations shows that people who made this lack the basic understanding of how how internet works at protocol level. They just see it as place with services provided by big companies. When they hear that a thing called “cryptography” exists they will probably outright ban all private use of it.

    It says that implementing these terrorism prevention systems in a browser and an in operating is a condition of selling their product in the EU. What about software and services which aren’t sold or provided by big companies but provided freely, will they just ban it or set terms that all software must be approved by EU before running it?

    The general vibe of this document is disgusting, looking at the internet users as brainless consumers. Although there are sections which show that all is not absolutely lost. Like “Filtering by companies at infrastructure level should not be promoted”.

    1. You are lucky we don’t have our ‘denunciator button’ yet. 
      You appear to be sympathizing with this man who conspired with others to overthrow not one, but two governments.  That’s dangerous turf. 

  26. Why are we spending this much time and money on a threat so small it’s practically irrelevant? Especially given the nature of the threat (crazy people). And of course when I say irrelevant, I mean to the western world (which I assume is the proposed benefactor of this insight). Badly installed shelving is probably a greater threat to the human race than terrorism – where’s the anti-shelving legislation? Why are we allowing DIY’ers to discuss shelving on forums??

    We need a think tank to work that out first – then, and only then, can you start to look at how to curb two people communicating online with any shred of privacy – which is what you’d need to do to prevent terrorists from engaging on the Internet.

    These people aren’t just stupid they’re mentally ill.

  27. Well, the idea of brainstorming is that you toss in everything off the top of your head, no matter how stupid it seems, then later put more careful thought into winnowing down the accumulated ideas into the ones that are actually implementable and have a chance of working. Among all the dumb and unworkable things that you put in the list during the first stage might be some out-of-the-box clever things that can be used later. Though I don’t see any in this bunch.

    1. From what I gather, the frightening thing is that this is the whittled down list – not the actual brainstorm.  Otherwise it’d be infinitely more forgivable (no idea is a bad idea and all that).

    2. The problem comes when the whole premise for the brainstorming is wrong. in this case, the basic premise seems to be “we need to enact laws and rules to increase the chance of identifying terrorists.” No one ever considers that maybe doing NOTHING is actually the best course of action. Maybe the right thing to do is to increase the freedom of citizens, assert individuals right to free speech and anonymity, encourage criticism of governments and religions, assume every individual is innocent (even if some other citizen reports some seemly bizarre behavior).

      We also live in a world where most legislative solutions are permanent, even when it is obvious they aren’t working. The usual solution is to “tweak” and build on the same flawed foundation rather than looking for the root cause. In many cases, it isn’t that the solution didn’t go far enough, it was that the solution they tried was simply wrong, maybe even 180 degrees off.

  28. “If we publish like this, it will scare people—that’s the reason that we didn’t publish it. It’s food for thought. We do realize these are very rough ideas.”

    In other words, the turd was not fully polished, yet.

  29. Just imagine being a real tech guy/IT professional at one of these clown’s meetings. You know there was at least one.

  30. Imagine you’ve been tasked with drafting a list of rules to 100% ensure a couple of terrorists don’t have a sit down up at your local city park and discuss bombing your county waste management facility over some khlav kalash and crab juice.

    Well, you’d have to install a security checkpoint at one of the entrances with some heavily armed rentacops, and probably a nice tall barbed wire fence around the perimeter. In fact, to be sure, maybe a pair of fences with some landmines or alligators or something between them to keep those sneaky sons of bitches from getting cutting through the fence. You would of course need to show a government issued ID and have your identity verified. You’d probably want to implement a 6 day waiting list to ensure the rentacops can perform an adequate background check prior to allowing admittance. Of course all conversations in the park would need to be monitored. Any excessively aggressive play would need immediate intervention. So probably you’d need a SWAT team standing by at all times in case there are any flagged conversations.

    You know what, this is just a quick first draft, I doubt the above is really enough to ensure terrorist aren’t given haven in my local park, but give me a few months and, say, a half million dollars, I’m sure I can come up with some more rules which would be foolproof.

    Someone just suggested to me that these rules would completely eliminate the usefulness of the park, cost more than my county government can afford and still not work. I suppose they’d rather keep their terrorist friendly park and just let the bad guys win all over it! Ha, we’ll see how this jihadist sympathizer feels after a couple of years of interrogation in an undisclosed government facility!

  31. Maybe every time you do something on the internet a video camera should be pointed at you, and your ID card must be worn around your neck.

  32. Quote from the document: “Items in this document … have a high degre of consensus, _except_ for the sections ‘to be discussed’. [these] are either new, need reformulating or are contested”
    … all of the points mentioned above in the article are in the “to be discussed” category.
    The only thing not in this category I might take issue with is “it must be legal for police officers to ‘patrol’ social media”, and the establishment of page filtering, although my not-versed-in law-things understanding doesn’t really penetrate in which respect and how this is supposed to be implemented.

    => Not the supidest thing ever, just lots of half-assed ideas, many of which probably come from people who’ve no idea what they’re talking about, and which are not likely to make it into law form. That’s not to say people shouldn’t keep an eye on the development. This whole thing seems to be very much biased to perceiving threat avoidance as more important than allowing free comunication. That said, there’s even a sentence demanding that monitoring of the Internet must focus on specific threats and may not target the general public — also “to be discussed”…

  33. Have anyone tried to talk with the terrorists? You know, educate them, show them indisputable facts and have them listen to some audobooks etc? Must be easier to argue with them than trying to make it impossible for crazy stupid people to do crazy stupid things. Because it is impossible to make it impossible to do something.

  34. The US are basically conquering the world. It has made a lot of enemies. Logically it has to do a lot of surveillence, it has a right to be fearful. This is what is screwing our privacy up. 

    If you have a feeling for what the stakes are, and what kind of games are played on the grand level, you will understand this is inevitable. Only when we get a bunch of people elected who are not war crazed maniacs will we get our privacy back.

  35. Many thanks to the EDRI for exposing this. They are the EU equivalent of the EFF. but are not nearly as well supported as they should be. please contribute time money, as the work they do is badly needed here.

  36. i feel like these were put in with specific companies in mind:
    * “Knowingly providing hyperlinks on websites to terrorist content must be defined by law as illegal just like the terrorist content itself” (google)

    * “Governments must disseminate lists of illegal, terrorist websites”

    * “The Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002 of 27 May 2002 (art 1.2)
    should be explained that providing Internet services is included in providing economics instruments to Al Qaeda (and other terrorist persons and organisations designated by the EU) and therefore an illegal act” (swedish IPs that respect their customer’s privacy)

    * “On Voice over IP services it must be possible to flag users for terrorist activity.” (skype)

    * “Internet companies must allow only real, common names.” (4chan)

    * “Social media companies must allow only real pictures of users.” (facebook)

    * “At the European level a browser or operating system based reporting button must be developed.”

    * “Governments will start drafting legislation that will make offering… a system [to monitor Internet activity] to Internet users obligatory for browser or operating systems…as a condition of selling their products in this country or the European Union.” 

    (MS,Apple,Google,Mozilla,(im not including linux because none of these clowns have heard of it…sorry linus))

    seriously, government officials, stay away from the internet. you don’t understand it, you don’t know what you are doing, just stay away.
    maybe in 60-70 years when this generation have most the seats you can start talking…

  37. This is similar to all the IP maximalist work that goes on in the US. Someone somewhere comes up with a totally backward, very bad (and tons of other similar adjectives) plan, then when they’re criticized, want to know how to improve it. The problem is it can’t be improved – it’s 180 degrees from where it should be. The moment you start to even think along these lines, your plan is wrong.

    Freedom and liberty are the MOST IMPORTANT values we hold. The concept of giving that up, even a little of it, to “protect” the population is wrong. It simply isn’t worth taking away the rights of everyone in order to capture a few more criminals (assuming that happens). It’s much better to let a few get away (and yes, that may result in acts of terrorism, murders, etc.) than to force every citizen to pay (in time, money, inconvenience, etc.) every day to prevent it.

    It may sound cruel, but it simply isn’t worth it (as a country) to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and billions of hours to save a few hundred or even a few thousand lives. If that were true, there are many more lives lost to non-terrorist causes that could be saved for much less time and money.

  38. Hmm. I think it’s time to take to the streets again.

    When I was growing up I didn’t have internet. When I finally did it changed my life and my perspective of everything. It freed my mind and it freed me.I will do anything it takes to protect it’s freedom.

    I knew how to make the difference between right and wrong without a commission censoring anything they consider to be terrorist activity.Not to mention terrorists will find other ways to spread the word, ways which will be harder to track then open websites.

  39. “We really didn’t expect that people would publish a document that clearly says ‘not for publication’—that really surprised us”
    Welcome to the internet my friend. Welcome to the internet.

Comments are closed.