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EU Censorship Government The Internet Your Rights Online

EU Proposal Would Encourage Web Users To Flag Suspicious Web Pages 95

Posted by timothy
from the dude-karma-is-so-prior-art dept.
littlekorea writes "Web surfers in Europe might soon be asked to 'flag' for law enforcement follow-up any web content they suspect incites terrorism, under an plan a group of EU governments has put to the internet industry. The plan asks for ISPs, search engines, web hosts and everyday users to play a larger role in identifying suspect content. Google already has a similar feature on YouTube — will we see it in the browser?"
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EU Proposal Would Encourage Web Users To Flag Suspicious Web Pages

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:31AM (#38571594)

    Who wants to bet that the top of the list of "flagged" sites will be comprised of EU government and law enforcement sites? I guess we'll only know for sure if they refuse to release a list of the top sites flagged. In fact, I dare say that the list will be so cluttered with joke flaggings that it will be difficult to determine what, if any, sites identified are actually "inciting terrorism" (not helped by the fact that one man's terrorist is another man's political leader).

    But then again, I suspect the goal of this really isn't to actually identify terrorist sites. I suspect that this is just more of the same sort of security circus show that has the TSA making me take off my shoes at the airport, even as they load a hundred suitcases of largely unscrutinized baggage on the same plane. It could also be another step in getting Europeans used to the idea of law enforcement dictating terms to ISP's and of "flagged" websites being blocked--almost all of which will of course end up being torrent sites, proxies, Wikileaks and other leak sites, etc. that have nothing to do with terrorists.

    • Can I flag the MoD? What about the Queen?

      • by duguk (589689) <dugNO@SPAMfrag.co.uk> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:46AM (#38571706) Homepage Journal

        Can I flag the MoD? What about the Queen?

        I'll be flagging GoDaddy, Sony, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs right away.

        Who comes up with these ideas and do they have any foresight at all?

        • Foresight? I bet they don't have foreskin...

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Don't forget all Christian and Muslim websites. Have you read their holy books? Very violent.
        • by Jawnn (445279)

          Can I flag the MoD? What about the Queen?

          I'll be flagging GoDaddy, Sony, Microsoft and Goldman Sachs right away. Who comes up with these ideas and do they have any foresight at all?

          Let's see... Nazi Germany, Stalinist USSR, McCarthy-era USA, to name a few. And I'd say that foresight isn't the problem. It appears that a lack of hindsight is the real issue.

          • by The Creator (4611)

            It appears that a lack of hindsight is the real issue.

            If you are suggesting we rip out their eyeballs from their sockets and shove them up their asses, i could totally support that.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Remember when the UK censorship agency used Cleanfeed to block the "child pornography" on Wikipedia, which had in fact been on sale in music shops all over the UK? That was thanks to a concerned citizen giving them a tip-off, and I can only imagine it was as a joke or to provoke a stupid reaction.

    • I suspect that this is just more of the same sort of security circus show that has the TSA

      Well, in awkward defense of this plan (I don't think it will work either) I must point out that this is probably several orders of magnitude cheaper than what those TSA actions cost you as a tax payer. I mean, we have right now on the local level a report-to-the-police then police-investigate system complete with repercussions if that system is abused. And that sometimes works well so why wouldn't a similar plan work for the web on a larger level and be way cheaper than TSA groping and cancer dosing at ai

      • by mr1911 (1942298)

        That's not true, the screen every bag. I had a lot of olive oils and mustards (two of my favorite condiments) as Christmas presents that I flew back with from MSP to IAD and when I arrived and got my luggage there was a little note in my bag saying the contents had made them hand search it after it was screened.

        Well I feel safer now. We can't have those contraband olive oils and mustards on the plane. Meanwhile, while they are looking for everything under the sun, the stuff they want to keep out sails right through.

        The TSA running down a rabbit hole chasing your condiments does not make anyone safer.

    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:45AM (#38571698)

      Hey look, it's the return of the Block Ward and Citizens-spying-on-citizens programs! Just as stupid, and just as dangerous. Not to mention that I WANT my terrorist sites out in the open. That way, we can watch them, identify the arguments, communication methods and even plans of the more retarded terrorists much more easily! To anyone who is arguing that this program doesn't mean that the sites have to be taken down, yes it will: can you imagine how you run against somebody who says "I shut down 20000 terrorist websites in the last year alone"? The only thing to do is to shout that you shut down 200000, and that your opponent sleeps with terrorists.

      • by HTH NE1 (675604)

        Be a Government Informer. Betray Your Family & Friends. Fabulous Prizes to be Won.

        • Because that's totally the kind of behavior you want to promote among the peace-loving populace -> distrust for your neighbor.

          You know, I enjoyed reading dystopian novels when I was younger, I did not expect to live in one!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Who wants to bet that the top of the list of "flagged" sites will be comprised of EU government and law enforcement sites?

      Don't worry. People who inappropriately flag things will have their flags dropped from the system, ensuring that only right minded individuals have their voices heard.

      • Inappropriately? It could be argued that flagging various government and law enforcement sites as terrorist in nature would not only be appropriate, but would be definitionally correct.
    • by g0bshiTe (596213)
      I agree, I'd also go so far as to say that if you wanted to boycott this system, abusing it would be the best way to show it for the farce it is.
    • What about a new penalty for (wait for it...) "False Flagging"?

      That would then completely muddy the search engines to cover people running "False Flag" operations, preventing you from finding the reports of Whistleblowers.

      Also, couldn't someone write a script/app that flags sites?

    • by kdemetter (965669)

      It indeed sounds like a way an excuse for censorship : ' We didn't block the site, a majority of the people wanted it blocked' .
      On the other side, they make no claim that the removal will happen democratically : it's to identify content. They do whathever they want with it.

      The following will probably happen :

      - Some actual terrorism sites will be identified, and shut down
      - A number of harmless sites ( but which the regime disapproves of ) will be removed, and the excuse will be that the people wanted it bloc

      • by Ohrion (814105)
        This seems most likely to me too.
      • +1 insightful, I'm out of mod points. I'm afraid that you're correct, the multinats being able to buy and control the media is scary too. It used to be that a brave reporter and paper could blow something wide open, now it gets quietly burried unless it can get out through wikileaks and the like. April O'Neil where are you now?
    • Who wants to bet that the top of the list of "flagged" sites will be comprised of EU government and law enforcement sites? I guess we'll only know for sure if they refuse to release a list of the top sites flagged. In fact, I dare say that the list will be so cluttered with joke flaggings that it will be difficult to determine what, if any, sites identified are actually "inciting terrorism" (not helped by the fact that one man's terrorist is another man's political leader).

      You are incorrect in thinking that those are false positives. Every single flag is guaranteed to find a terrorist, the site being flagged, or the person doing the flagging. Obviously if you are going to sabotage their intelligence gathering with protests against Big Brother you must be one of Them.

  • ...at what the deeper roots of the current and ongoing security craze are ?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Ignorance and apathy. The root of forms all complacency.

    • Shhhh... Everything is just as it seems.
    • by Hatta (162192)

      Greed and ambition.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      The fat, greedy and parasitical financial industry have been sucking all the money from the European governments and then claiming the states have incurred into too much debt.
      The corrupt governments take advantage to take away from their own citizens everything they have worked hard for: Liberty, security, health care, education, etc.
      The governments then tell them it serves them right for living irresponsibly all these years. The citizens then apologise and bow down just a little bit more.

      Apparently,

  • Please saviour, saviour, show us
    Hear me, I'm graphically yours

    Someone to claim us, someone to follow

    Someone to shame us, some brave Apollo

    Someone to fool us, someone like you
    We want you Big Brother,
    Big Brother

    If they publish the list of flagged sites, we might actually find something worth reading. At this rate, the "approved" content on the 'net will be MN's coverage of Kardashian plastic surgery, and the Daily Mail fawning over gong distribution.

  • by dk90406 (797452) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:42AM (#38571682)
    - soon to be followed requests to report by child abuse, drug trade, piracy, and general critique of the EU and government.
    We are slowly learning from the US laws.
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:43AM (#38571686)

      "We're doing this to fight terrorism" has become the 21st century equivalent of "We're doing this to protect the children."

      • by Idbar (1034346)
        Well, why keep pushing the children stuff, if you can instigate fear in more people... parent or not.
    • by mr1911 (1942298)

      We are slowly learning from the US laws.

      Don't be so hard on yourself. With tens of thousands of security cameras across your cities, rampant hoplophobia, and courts that favor criminals over anyone even thinking of defending themselves, you are leading the charge into a moronic nanny state.

      • by dk90406 (797452) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:11AM (#38571956)
        >Don't be so hard on yourself. With tens of thousands of security cameras across your cities,
        That is mostly the brits. But I grant you the point.

        > rampant hoplophobia,
        With a murder rate less than a 6th of that rate in gun loving USA, I consider this wise.

        >courts that favor criminals over anyone even thinking of defending themselves,
        You lost me here. Self defense is legal. Courts are tough on crime (at least where I live). Corruption is almost nill, Last I heard it was in the us a burglar could sue the owner of the house he broke in to if he broke his leg during the heist. And win.

        • >Don't be so hard on yourself. With tens of thousands of security cameras across your cities, That is mostly the brits. But I grant you the point.

          > rampant hoplophobia, With a murder rate less than a 6th of that rate in gun loving USA, I consider this wise.

          Non sequitur. What are your population numbers, in relation to that of the US?
          Statistically, there is no causality between gun ownership and murder rates in the US; quite the opposite in many places [nytimes.com].

          Europe, too [nytimes.com].

          ... Last I heard it was in the [US] a burglar could sue the owner of the house he broke in to if he broke his leg during the heist. And win.

          Only in the People's Republic of California [urbandictionary.com].

        • hoplophobia (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:52AM (#38572600) Journal

          hoplophobia

          I had to look up this word. It means "fear of weapons" (I thought a Hoplon was a shield, not a general weapon). Somehow some some Americans think weapons are perfectly safe and normal, even in an environment where you don't need them for the dangerous wildlife. How sick must you be to come up with such a word?

          • by mr1911 (1942298)

            Somehow some some Americans think weapons are perfectly safe and normal, even in an environment where you don't need them for the dangerous wildlife. How sick must you be to come up with such a word?

            Hoplophobe, defined.

          • by mjr167 (2477430)
            We don't need weapons for the dangerous wildlife. We need them for the dangerous people. The fact we can use them on the wildlife is just a bonus.
        • With a murder rate less than a 6th of that rate in gun loving USA, I consider this wise.

          1) There are several countries with a high number of gun owners (some higher than the USA), yet with a low murder rate
          2) A number of countries are very strict on ownership of firearms, yet have a relatively high number of gun-related violent incidents
          3) Non gun-related violence in the USA is higher than average as well


          I think there should be some form of control of firearms, but in view of these 3 points I don't find the reasons and examples that are usually cited to be all that compelling. There migh

          • by lgw (121541)

            Cars are far more dangerous than gun, in practice. It's reasonable to expect someone to demonstrate basic competence before having either in a public place. On one's own property, however, the government has little business with either.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        And then there's the USA.

        1. anal retentive TSA.

        2. random detainment in gitmo.

        3. no longer being able to fly because you're on some sort of list.

        4. government secretly wiretapping all phonecalls.

        Its clearly the USA that's leading the way into the 'moronic nanny state'.

    • by AHuxley (892839)
      UK, Spain, parts of France/Germany, east of Austria - for generations the idea of informing was a positive.
      Just moving with the times from "packages" and "strangers" to webpages.
      Its a great EU boondoggle - the reporting site/plug in, every page has to be looked at, passive log requests of low risk sites, ongoing surveillance of more interesting people.
      Admis/sites been investigated... dossier updated with voice prints, new faces, sharing of intel with the US
      All that expensive software to rent/expertise o
  • Then I'll start flagging whitehouse.gov, fbi.gov, tsa.gov, mpaa.org, riaa.org, etc.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Don't do it.
      Those who flag these sites will immediately be put on an DHS watchList and noFlyList.
      If you do it again, you will be arrrested and held indefinetely without trial under the laws that Pres Obama singned off on just before Christmas.

      You have been warned.
      BB is watching you

      Yours,
            Pres Obama

  • by 3seas (184403) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:50AM (#38571746) Journal

    Flagging the White House Web Site.

  • Well the salvation army are obviously paramilitary
  • Just like in 1914 we had a German spy mania. Also some busybody (a Jeremy Vine listener no doubt) will report the Asian family next door neighbor because they got a new wheelie bin from the council.
    • by Chrisq (894406)

      Just like in 1914 we had a German spy mania. Also some busybody (a Jeremy Vine listener no doubt) will report the Asian family next door neighbor because they got a new wheelie bin from the council.

      We blew the last one up mixing explosives you insensitive clod

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:52AM (#38571768)
    This will be the 21st century Cones Hotline [wikipedia.org]
  • This makes no sense. I can understand a "request" by government officials to report "suspicious" behavior while driving down a highway (motorway?) or common street. I have to pass by things, places along the way. The internet is not like that. I don't consciously stop by web sites that may promote terrorism, I don't actively look for web sites that incite violence; just like I don't drive down dark alleys or bad sections of town on purpose. If I did want to go to sites like that, the last thing I'd do

  • Which will work out splendidly, as first shown on SNL [guzer.com].
  • Seems pretty trivial to write a firefox plugin to add a "report terrorist" option to the right click menu. It's pretty much guaranteed to be simpler and more effective than whatever their committee came up with in their "draft manifesto".

    This could be up and running before anyone even gets around to reading their proposal.
  • by khipu (2511498) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:06AM (#38571906)

    There are many former Stasi informers who are probably more than happy to apply their organizational and informant skills to this new challenge.

  • Lets say they manage to get people to report stuff they see. How are they going to deal with the influx of all the reported sites? Presumably the people reading terrorist sites support those views, so there's not going to be a lot reports of them. Meanwhile slashdot, facebook, etc are going to have tons of people reporting them. You can't just filter out those sites because there is so much user content that could potentially be from a terrorist.

    So how are you going to find the 1 report for bob.terrorshac
    • There are plenty of ways you can filter out the noise.

      Just ignore reports on facebook, slashdot and commonly used websites. You can also have a reputation system where you Ignore users that abuse the system and report irrelevant content. Someone who has a history of reporting relevant content can be given priority.

  • I propose that European Union pages that mention the accounts be flagged for investigation, as the accounts have not been signed off as accurate due to the level of fraud and corruption for 16 years in a row.. 16 years of fraud accounts [dailymail.co.uk]

    Maybe someone will eventually be arrested, charged, and convicted over these frauds and corruption. I won't hold my breath.
  • And you don't know who is watching.. sounds a lot like nazi germany was .

  • by IonOtter (629215) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:37AM (#38572386) Homepage

    Web of Trust [mywot.com] already provides a very valuable service in flagging suspect and malicious websites. It's a mix of both automated systems and user input.

    Very useful, very effective and very easy. The only thing it "lacks" is the ability to report something to the "authorities", but I don't consider that to be a fault.

  • First, you can expect us griefers to flag the government sites, police especially, of any nation we have a burr under our saddle about. Then the site of whatever corporation just sold us s defective product, tainted food, or just whatever we think *other people* should not be buying. McDonalds anyone?

    Then move on to flag your competitors' sites, etc.

    And while they're at it, why not flag your ex, their kids, etc. Jilted lovers will make good use of this feature.

    Seriously? They think this stuff up? All in

  • ....Or any web content the particular pack of yahoos currently in power just happens to not agree with?
  • 1) Build web crawler (man, nobody talks of them nowadays)
    2) Crawler flags all visited sites
    3) Publish crawler code so that others can also run it on their own sites

    Result: the input channel gets flooded with a neverending stream of random false positives.

    Flagging concentrated on a few main corporate sites won't do it since they can just remove them from the list, and then go after the first unknown remaining site. But distributed automatic notifications would make human flags dissapear inside the noise.

  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @11:27AM (#38572992) Homepage

    First it was the DMCA, then SOPA and PIPA. Now it looks like Europe is likewise adopting the model of taking down content based on claims of infringement/illegality rather than actual infringement or illegality. From TFA: "This could be combined with a ‘notice and take down’ system under which law enforcement agencies would assess flagged web pages and forward take down notices to ISPs if the content is believed to contravene national laws."

    There's also a major flaw in this plan: Crowdsourcing is only as good as your crowd, which in this case is likely to consist mostly of idiots.

  • From TFA:

    "Law Enforcement Agencies of all countries should actively flag and encourage the use of flagging among end users as much as possible as a way of notification to the ISP that they are hosting content which might be illegal or unwanted."

    Pressure the ISP to remove speech, and you don't have to bother with those annoying free speech questions.

    Common carrier or catalyzing oligarchy -- binary options. We know which side the government is going to come down on, so it's going to be an uphill battle. Soone

  • Where can I go and flag all articles about this sort of 1984-esque activity?

  • Assuming they have a provision in the law about "it is a crime to terrorist-flag a site that you do not suspect of terrorism" - then I could imagine viruses that do the chaff-flagging for you. In fact, purposely installing such a virus would allow you to help thwart such a law while giving plausible deniability.
  • We had that in Germany, in the east block. There were people that can go to the police or directly to the Stasi and get suspicion people arrested, their home searched, etc. That leads to nice paranoia, so you can't trust your neighbor or your family anymore. It's some kind of creepy that we go down that road again.

    For more information please read Ministry of State Security of the GDR [wikipedia.org]

    Between 1950 and 1989, the Stasi employed a total of 274,000 people [...] along with 173,081 unofficial informants inside GDR. In terms of the identity of inoffizielle Mitarbeiter (IMs) Stasi informants, by 1995, 174,000 had been identified, which approximated 2.5% of East Germany's population between the ages of 18 and 60.

    What is wrong with the current politicians? They are suppose to be have knowledge in history, and they are suppose to abide

  • Exactly why is this a good thing? So, if someone vehemently disagrees with content on a website that can just flag it as suspicious for law enforcement review? The language is too vague. Someone could be simply expressing an opinion, which in turn could be misunderstood or purposely misconstrued as terroristic in nature. This is definitely not a good thing at all.
  • You can read the full draft proposal of CleanIT project here: http://www.cleanitproject.eu/CLEAN%20IT%20DRAFT%20DOCUMENT%2002.doc [cleanitproject.eu] Although the draft itself seems bad, this CleanIT is basically wishful thinking by some police organizations. It's far from becoming a law, or even a proposal for a law.
  • http://www.irs.gov/ [irs.gov] makes me want to blow something up every time I see it.

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