EU Law Enforcement and Google confront terrorist propaganda in latest Europol Referral Action Days

On Monday 9 July and Tuesday 10 July, Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU) organised the tenth joint Referral Action Days with colleagues from specialist units in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands. This time around, the campaign was focused on different platforms belonging to Google and was attended by representatives of the American multinational technology company that focuses on Internet-related services and products.

Co-ordinated action against online terrorist propaganda determinedly focused mainly on the generation of terrorist materials produced by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ and ‘Al-Qaida’ and their sympathisers. Among the items referred were propaganda videos and social media accounts glorifying or otherwise supporting terrorism and violent extremism.

Since the creation of the EU IRU, Europol has enjoyed excellent co-operation with Google in tackling terrorism online. The latest event was an opportunity for all parties to review the kind of content that terrorist groups attempt to disseminate online and further improve the referral process with the common aim of ensuring that material glorifying terrorism will be removed from the Internet as soon as possible.

As concluded by Google representatives: “We found the Action Days productive and useful. Good progress was made in how we continue to work together.”

Referrals of terrorist content detected by the law enforcement specialists were swiftly reviewed by respective platforms. It is, however, important to emphasise that the final removal of the referred material is a voluntary activity by the platforms, taking into consideration their own Terms and Conditions.

During the Referral Action Days, Europol actively promotes a co-ordinated approach to fighting terrorist propaganda online. Similar joint action, involving EU Member States and online industry partners, will continue to be organised on a regular basis.

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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