An “obscure meeting” in the European Union has made a bizarre and frighteningly statist proposal: censorship of illicit internet content for European Internet connections.
The proposal emerged an obscure meeting of the Council of the European Union’s Law Enforcement Work Party (LEWP), a forum for cooperation on issues such as counter terrorism, customs and fraud.
“The Presidency of the LEWP presented its intention to propose concrete measures towards creating a single secure European cyberspace,” according to brief minutes of the meeting.
Leaving aside the enormous and obvious implications of a censorship policy (Who decides on what is “illicit”?) this highlights a troubling aspect of the European Union.
It is highly unlikely that this proposal will go forward. It is just a suggestion made in an obscure meeting, and would hopefully be political suicide if attempted. I have no doubt that the Telegraph, in referring to it as a “proposal” in the headline, intend to scare their readers into thinking it is something seriously on the table. Tasteless journalism aside, this raises a broader and perhaps more important point: Why is this even up for discussion?
The EU isn’t really accountable by any means. The Duma known as the European Parliament has no teeth, important decisions are made elsewhere in the vast complex structures of the EU. Why is it that anyone in the public sector thinks they have the right to discuss the implementation of state censorship across an entire continent? Let alone some faceless bureaucrats of a body nobody has ever heard of attending an obscure meeting.
This wouldn’t be worth mentioning if it was an obscure meeting in my town council, it would obviously be a farce coming from an institution with very little power, but it isn’t. It is coming from somewhere within a powerful structure that spans all of Europe and regulates some of the worlds most important economies. Furthermore, it comes from a structure that already does crazy things all the time. The very idea that there exists an unaccountable institution that whimsically has obscure meetings about whether or not millions of people, including the British who enjoy some of the worlds most liberal speech laws, should live under censorship is outrageous and embarrassing.
“What will they think of next?” I don’t know, and it isn’t something I should have to worry about.