The European Data Protection Supervisor (the “EDPS”) recently questioned the suitability of requiring hosting service providers to remove allegedly illegal content created by others. Under the E-Commerce Directive, a form of legislation applicable to various Internet activities, online content hosts are not liable for storing or making available illegal content created and posted by others, but are required to remove or disable access to such content, if notified of its existence.
The EDPS is an independent supervisory authority devoted to protecting personal data and privacy in the European Union. The EDPS raised concerns that in removing illegal content, hosting service providers may be forced to process sensitive personal data, a task that may be more appropriate for data protection authorities. Similarly, the EDPS suggested that the broad scope of illegal content can involve issues in other fields that may be better dealt with by the competent authorities in those fields.
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