Europe-wide firewall mooted in Council of the EU

The Hungarian presidency of the Council of the EU wants to propose a Europe-wide firewall to block 'illicit contents' on a continental scale, it has emerged.The proposal was outlined in minutes (PDF) from a joint meeting of the Council's Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) and the Customs Cooperation Working Party on 17 February, but has only been widely discussed on the internet in the last day or two.

The Hungarian presidency of the Council of the EU wants to propose a Europe-wide firewall to block 'illicit contents' on a continental scale, it has emerged.

The proposal was outlined in minutes (PDF) from a joint meeting of the Council's Law Enforcement Working Party (LEWP) and the Customs Cooperation Working Party on 17 February, but has only been widely discussed on the internet in the last day or two.

"The Presidency of the LEWP presented its intention to propose concrete measures towards creating a single secure European cyberspace with a certain 'virtual Schengen border' and 'virtual access points' whereby the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) would block illicit contents on the basis of the EU 'black-list'," the minutes read.

Open rights activist Glyn Moody wrote on his blog on Thursday that the Hungarian presidency was demonstrating "cluelessness" in its plans.

“They only have to look at how porous the Great Firewall of China is — something that has been created and honed by experts with huge resources," Moody noted, adding that the proposal would amount to "the imposition of Europe-wide censorship".

The Council represents the governments of EU member states, and has a rotating six-monthly presidency that applies in the Council's various working groups. Hungary's tenure runs out at the end of June.

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