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The regulation that was drafted in cooperation with the social media giants obliges the web hosts to remove public incitements to terrorist crimes.

The previous composition of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) sent a similar Bill (742 SE) to the first reading in last December, but it was dropped from the proceedings due to the termination of the mandate of the composition. Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee Priit Lomp said that the legislative proceedings on the Bill must be completed because there was no room for terrorist incitements in the legal space of democracies. “We must improve the cooperation of the state with web hosts to make the public space of us all more secure. After the passing of this Act, the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority as well as the Estonian Internal Security Service will also be able to detect radicalisation attempts and provocations against Estonia more efficiently,” he explained.

Deputy Chairman of the Committee Lauri Laats added that not only must it be safe to live in Estonia, but the people’s freedom of speech had to be protected as well and web hosts should not be forced to conduct surveillance activities. “People must be able to express their views even when they do not agree with the opinion of the majority. Therefore, it is necessary to be very careful in defining the terrorist content, and at the same time sufficiently strict so that Estonia would be protected from provocations coming from any regime,” Laats pointed out.

The Bill on Amendments to the Information Society Services Act and the Penal Code will bring the Estonian national law into conformity with the European Union Regulation that has the main aim of improving cooperation with web content mediators, incl. web companies, NGOs, associations and news portals to enhance the removal of terrorist content online. The content of a post is considered terrorist if it incites or glorifies the commission of terrorist acts. It also includes promoting the activities of groups or the dissemination of detailed instructions to commit terrorist acts. The regulation only applies to public websites. Web hosting service providers are obliged to remove terrorist content or block access to it. The rules have been agreed upon by the European Union, and they are supported by hosting service providers, like Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Cooperation between states is organised by the Europol.

The Penal Code will also be amended to ensure that persons can be prosecuted not only for incitements made in public but also, for example, in moderated forums and groups.

The Economic Affairs Committee decided to send the Bill on Amendments to the Information Society Services Act and the Penal Code (224 SE) to the first reading at the plenary sitting of the Riigikogu on 18 October with the motion to conclude the first reading.

Riigikogu Press Service
Maris Meiessaar
+372 631 6353, +372 5558 3993
[email protected]
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