The EU-funded Clean IT Project can basically be summed up with Sophisticated Cat, a bunch of painfully out of touch people coming up with Big Ideas to solve this problem called “The Internet.” They originally wanted spyware built into your OS and browser, because that was an awesome idea, but have instead settling for crowdsourcing their discovery of terrorism on the Internet, in the form of a “browser-based reporting mechanism [that] could be developed to allow end users to report terrorist use of the Internet.”
Why do they want a “flag this as terrorism” button, built into every browser? Because of this “challenge” (link is to PDF):
While content portals (like social networks, image or video portals) can offer ‘flagging’ opportunities, other platforms (like hosted websites) often lack such a mechanism. Moreover, there is not one international, user-friendly reporting mechanism available to all Internet users, irrespective of which part of the Internet they are using at the moment they notice what they think is terrorist use of the Internet.
So, essentially, the Clean IT Project is saying that people who inadvertently wind up on terrorist websites, of which we are sure there are legions, desperately need an ability to hit a button and tell somebody that “Holy crap! I found terrorism!”
We’ve got to admire their unbridled optimism and belief that most people are willing to chip in. On the other hand, we’ve also got to wonder if anybody, anywhere, involved in the Clean IT Project has heard of trolling. Or even comprehends human nature.
That said, none of this seems to be binding: It’s just a collection of “best practices” that a bunch of people who are Officially Smarter Than You have decided are what’s best for the Internet. In other words, it’s like that binder you got on the first day of the job that you cracked once, realized has nothing to do with your job, and currently props up your desk.
On the other hand, Facebook having a terrorism button would be awesome, for the five hours it was allowed.