Action against terrorist material online
The Government decided today to refer a proposal to the Council on Legislation aimed at giving the Swedish Police Authority more effective tools to prevent terrorist content being spread online. The legislative proposal complements an EU regulation in this area.
“The proposals now being presented by the Government boost the Swedish Police Authority’s ability to fight terrorism. It is vital that the Police have the necessary tools to effectively counteract the forces in society that want to instil fear and don’t care if innocent people are affected,” says Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer.
Terrorism involves criminal activities of a very serious and system-threatening nature, and is one of the most serious threats to democracy, the free exercise of human rights and economic and social development. It is also found online.
The EU regulation in the area, which aims to prevent the spread of terrorist content online, has applied since June 2022. The regulation contains several new legal tools to enable the competent authorities in the EU – in Sweden, the Swedish Police Authority – to counteract terrorist content being disseminated to the public online.
The draft legislation referred to the Council on Legislation contains a proposal for an act with provisions to complement the EU regulation. The new act would allow the Swedish Police Authority to impose fines and financial penalties on online hosting service providers that do not meet their obligations under the regulation. One example is if terrorist content is not removed – in such cases, the Swedish Police Authority can decide to impose financial penalties of at least SEK 5 000 and at most SEK 5 million. There are also exceptions for the most serious cases, in which a financial penalty corresponding to four per cent of the provider’s total turnover may be imposed.
In addition, the legislative proposals also include a provision that would facilitate information exchanges between the Swedish Police Authority and the Swedish Security Service. This is to ensure that the Swedish Police Authority has access to the data that may be necessary to assess potential terrorist content.
It is proposed that the act, which does not apply to material protected by the Freedom of the Press Act or the Fundamental Law on Freedom of Expression, enter into force on 1 July 2023.