The Seventh EU Internet Forum Ministerial Meeting
On 8th of December 2021, the seventh edition of the Internet Forum Ministerial Meeting took place, which concerns the general protection of people in the digital world. Commissioner Johansson welcomed law enforcement and law makers, as well as companies whose main activities take place online.
Commissioner Johansson highlighted three main challenges with which the law enforcement struggles online, namely: the cross-border element of digital crimes, the encryption of criminal activities, and the enormous amount of data that requires verification. The following three measures ought to be followed, namely: the development of innovative products (such as the AI which Europol may use in assisting investigations). Secondly, emphasis was set on cooperation and information exchange in the EU and between Europol and private companies. Lastly, the Commissioner mentioned the adoption of regulations which tackle online criminal activities.
Moving forward, the discussion concerned the Terrorist Content Online Regulation, adopted in June, which allow officials to request the removal of online criminal content anywhere within the European Union. The necessity of the regulation is obvious as people may be drawn to extremist information as a result of algorithmic amplification. One important difficulty is the amplification and manipulation of legal but damaging content, also known as “borderline content.” The online Covid conspiracy theories, for example, have shown their influence in the real world, by leading to violent riots. The Commissioner spoke about the radicalisation of children online, and the role video games have in this regard, and mentioned that the main scope of the Forum is to find concrete solution for the rising of far right extremists and protect children, especially against online sexual abuse.
As a conclusion, Commissioner Johansson encouraged strong cooperation between the EU and the online companies, requesting them to detect and remove terrorist content, support authorities in their investigations and create means to moderate violent online content.