The Clean IT Project – Draft review

As I wrote previously, there is The Clean IT Project supported by European Union. Their focus is to create some recommendation on fighting unlawful usage of the Internet. Pretty impossible to do so while keeping our freedom, isn’t it? Recently The Clean IT Project published the draft of what they have been working on. You can download it on the their website. It is unfortunately in proprietary closed format, but we all know how to handle these… What I want to do now is to do a little review of their draft. I’ll send the feedback back to the group so they can address the issues 😉

First thing that you will spot on the draft is introductory paragraph about the importance of Internet (good) and dangers that ‘animal rights, left-wing, racist, religious, right-wing, separatist and all other terrorist and extremist organizations and individuals’ pose. Well, with wrong bracketing almost everybody can fit the description. But let’s stick to the correct one and beleive that only dangerous extremist from these groups are considered thread.

Next part is entitled General principles. LEAs(Law enforcement agency) and ISPs(Internet Service Provider) should understand each other and respect each other. Laws, privacy and other individual rights and freedoms should be respected. LEAs should know the law and technology. Great! Specialized courts and prosecutors should be used, which also sounds like decisions might be done by somebody who actually knows, what he is doing. Clarifying law to be more explicit (another of proposals) also sounds like a good idea. So general principles even sounds like improvement, not something we should be afraid of.

What about proposed partial solutions? Educating general public. Good. End-user controlled filters – ok as long as they are end user controlled and I can turn it off. Cooperating on lists of safe and unsafe parts of Internet. I don’t mind that. Funding NGOs (non-governmental organization). I’m ok with funding non-profit organizations that helps public. I’m sending donations to some of them myself. But this item might depend on implementation. It can be great and help everybody (funding organizations like Liberix to educate people) or just a way how government can make some money disappear (founding new NGO that will be maintaining lists using some obscure costly way). But let’s hope for the better of the options 😉

Then there is some stuff that can be potentially dangerous as it sounds quite general and misses some more explanations – ‘Legislation and regulation’, ‘Monitoring and searches’, ‘Real identity policy’, ‘Moderator projects’ and ‘Referral sites’. And I also can’t get what is meant by ‘Pop up systems’,  ‘Language services’ and ‘Counter narratives projects’, might be language issue as I’m not native speaker.

Ok, so from what I read, it sounds like the proposed solution consists from working better together on providing means for users to protect themselves and their children. This sounds ok. As long as all protection is optional and doesn’t cost tax payers a fortune. Educating people seems as a quite noble cause. And getting courts and LEAs that actually knows what’s going on seems like a great idea.

After rereading the post, it looked suspiciously positive, so I reread the draft trying to find something potentially dangerous. But apart from what I have already mentioned I couldn’t find anything. There is ‘Notice and take down’ point, but all it says is that there should be clear procedure how to notify ISP about possibly dangerous content and then ISP can decide how he will deal with his customer providing it. So overall I must say that it doesn’t sound bad although it disguise itself in similar words as many dangerous bills that people are trying to get through (SOPA has different justification, Patriot Act different goal and both are in US, luckily I live in EU). Actually if people would follow it, it might be even great and help us to get better Internet!