EU Passes Dangerous New Internet Directive
After months of talks, votes, consultations, protests and petitions, the European Union finally passed one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in its history on Tuesday.
Inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee, cofounder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales and 70 other Internet pioneers signed an open letter to the president of the European Parliament warning that it was about to pass a directive that was “an imminent threat to the future” of the Internet. Over 5 million people signed Change.org’s largest-ever petition to try to get the EU to reconsider. Hundreds of thousands turned out to protest last weekend.
None of it mattered. The European Parliament passed its new Copyright Directive, its largest-ever attack on a free and open Internet.
The troublesome part of the directive revolve around two clauses, more dangerous than they first appear. Article 11 sets up the “link tax,” which doesn’t allow quoting more than a few words unless you pay the supplier. It sounds great—journalists will get paid for their content. But it’s been tried before, and the reality is that people stop quoting and linking to journalists, especially small publications. It can even be used to silence people who disagree with you and quote your material in order to argue your points.
The one that has really grabbed everyone’s attention is Article 13. It forces various Internet companies to check everything the public uploads for copyright infringement before it goes online. So content like this video you’re watching right now would have to go through some kind of a filter before it is posted.
The trouble is, computers get things wrong all the time. Parody could become much harder, and so could political commentary. If I quote an article or post an extract of news footage, a computer may rule it to be illegal, even if it is legal.
Even more concerning, this directive forces Internet companies to build a filter that could be used for almost anything. Once it’s up and running, the EU could mandate that it shift from just copyright infringement to “hate speech,” which may just mean a filter that blocks out anything the EU doesn’t like.
This is why Berners-Lee and his fellows warned that “Article 13 takes an unprecedented step towards the transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.” Diego Naranjo, senior policy adviser at European Digital Rights, warned that “Article 13 of the Directive sets a dangerous precedent for Internet filters and automated censorship mechanisms—in the EU and across the globe.”
This restrictive move to control the Internet is exactly the kind of move the Bible tells us to expect from the EU. Here at the Trumpet, we have taught for years that the EU will morph into the beast power described in the book of Revelation—a dominant, authoritarian empire. Revelation 13 describes this beast power trying to control what people buy and sell. That prophecy shows that this power will try to clamp down on what people say and what people believe.
The EU looks harmless, useless even, and very bureaucratic. But it is already moving in this authoritarian direction. To read more about the new censorship law and these Bible prophecies, read my article “This Article—Soon Blocked by the EU.”