09 July, 2019

GSMA ETNO Position paper on the proposal for a regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online

Executive summary

• We invite co-legislators to support the amended wording in the Parliament’s text on Article 2 and Recital 10, clarifying that hosting services which satisfy at least one of the following criteria should be outside of the scope of the regulation:

1. They do not communicate information to the public or give their users the ability to make such information available on the public Internet,
2. They do not have contractual rights to control their users’ content,
3. They do not have technical capability to remove individual end-user content, which usually goes hand in hand with not having contractual rights to control either.

• Based on these criteria, any exemption in the regulation for cloud computing should be technology neutral and futureproof. The exemption should be agnostic as to the cloud service layers, encompassing both PaaS (Platform as a Service), SaaS (Software as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) where those cloud services satisfy the criteria above.


This document provides for GSMA and ETNO members’ position on the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online (TCR). GSMA and ETNO fully endorse the objective of the European Commission to tackle the dissemination of material that acts as incitement to violence and terrorism online. At the same time, we are concerned that the draft regulation as presented by the European Commission is too broad in terms of scope, and could unintentionally capture a number of services which do not meaningfully contribute to the dissemination of terrorist content online. It could also harm the offering of business-to-business cloud services, which is e.g. very crucial in the scope of industrial internet, including some of the cloud hosting services offered by our members.

In anticipation of forthcoming trilogue negotiations between the co-legislators, this position paper summarises the views of GSMA-ETNO members on the proposed regulation and calls on the Council and Commission to support the amended wording of the Parliament text. In particular, we ask that co-legislators endorse the Parliament’s proposed wording under Article 2 and Recital 10, narrowing the scope of the regulation to only include Hosting Service Providers whose services allow for the wide dissemination of terrorist material online, thereby focusing on where the vast majority of harm actually occurs. This also ensures that hosting services provided to businesses on specifically high safety standards, which do not allow the hosting service provider to control users’ content due to encryption, are excluded.

In so doing, we are confident co-legislators can deliver a targeted legal instrument which both satisfies the Commission’s original objectives, is technically workable and does not place undue limitations on the fundamental rights of EU citizens, such as the right to conduct a business. Such a solution would also enable businesses to offer secure cloud services in the scope of the industrial internet, and would create a disproportionate burden for service providers, who do not enable the dissemination of terrorist content online.

Read the full version here. 

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