[1월16일 세계언론 속 아시아] EU ‘샤를리 에브도’ 테러 이후 ‘인터넷검열’ 강화…실효성 ‘의문’

<뉴욕타임즈> EU ‘샤를리 에브도’ 테러 이후 ‘인터넷검열’ 강화, 실효성은 ‘의문’

유럽연합(EU)이 ‘샤를리 에브도 테러’ 이후 유사테러를 방지하기 위해 머리를 맞대고 있다. 최근 프랑스, 영국, 독일 등 EU국가 내무부 장관들은 샤를리 에브도 테러 이후 파리에서 열린 장관급 회의에서 “인터넷 서비스 공급자들이 테러를 야기하는 콘텐츠를 검열해야 한다”고 의견을 모았다.

하지만 법안의 실효성에 대해선 논란의 여지가 있다. 인터넷 서비스 제공자가 어떤 콘텐츠가 테러를 야기할지 판단하기 어렵기 때문이다. 인터넷검열 법안이 통과될 경우, 인터넷 서비스 업체들은 과도하게 정보를 검열해 삭제할 가능성이 높다.

금주 초, 데이비드 캐머런 영국 총리는 “왓츠앱, 스냅챗 등 모바일메신저 업체들이 사용자간 대화를 검열해야 한다. 업체들이 이에 응하지 않을 시 영국 내 사용금지 처분을 내리겠다”고 말했다. 이에 보안전문가들은 “해커들이 보안시스템을 뚫고 정보를 빼낼 수 있다”고 반박했다. 어플리케이션 사용자들도 보안프로그램을 사용해 자신의 신분과 위치를 감춘 채 대화할 수 있다. EU는 ‘시민의 안전’보다 ‘표현의 자유’를 억압하는 ‘인터넷검열’보다 효율적인 정책을 제시해야 한다.

한편 테러발생국 프랑스는 2014년 9월 테러단체와 연관된 것으로 의심받는 시민들의 여권과 신분증을 일정기간 압수하는 법안을 통과시켰다. 테러 이후 프랑스 경찰당국은 지난 12일부터 인종 및 종교와 관련해 ‘증오발언(Hate speech)’을 한 시민 54명을 체포했다. 번역·요약 노지영 인턴기자

After Paris Attacks, Wrong Responses to Charlie Hebdo

Leaders in Europe are justifiably trying to figure out what they should be doing to prevent terrorist attacks like the recent massacre at the satirical French newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Regrettably, some politicians are proposing the kind of Internet censorship and surveillance that would do little to protect their citizens but do a lot to infringe on civil liberties.

In Paris, a dozen interior ministers from European Union countries including France, Britain and Germany issued a statement earlier this week calling on Internet service providers to identify and take down online content “that aims to incite hatred and terror.” The ministers also want the European Union to start monitoring and storing information about the itineraries of air travelers. And in Britain, Prime Minister David Cameronsuggested the country should ban Internet services that did not give the government the ability to monitor all encrypted chats and calls.

Even before the Charlie Hebdo attack, European leaders were proposing or enacting harsh measures. For example, the French Parliament passed a law in September that allows the authorities to temporarily seize the passports and identity cards of citizens who they believed intended to join foreign terrorist organizations. And this week, French officials said they hadarrested 54 people for hate speech, including a controversial comic.

Appealing as these measures may sound in the aftermath of a tragedy, they are deeply flawed. Countries like France and Germany have long had stricter controls on speech than the United States. For example, their governments have in the past forced Internet firms like Yahoo and Twitter to take down Nazi propaganda. But those decisions are generally made by government officials or judges, not technology companies.

Internet service providers do not have the staff or the skill to determine what content is likely to lead to terrorist attacks. That is why a blanket mandate to censor terrorism-related information could force these businesses to err on the side of caution and take down information that might be offensive but would not lead to an imminent attack. In fact, an Internet service provider might well have taken down satirical cartoons of the kind Charlie Hebdo published.

Mr. Cameron’s proposal raises another set of problems. In a speech earlier this week, he said he wanted companies like WhatsApp and Snapchat to create back doors in their services that would allow intelligence services to monitor conversations between users. If the companies refused to comply, he said, they should not be allowed to operate in Britain. Such an approach might seem reasonable to some ? after all, the police can wiretap a landline phone, so why not a messaging service?

But technology and privacy advocates say it is dangerous to require technology companies to build such surveillance mechanisms into communications services because hackers and criminals will inevitably find ways to use those back doors to steal information from individuals, corporations and governments.

Mr. Cameron’s proposal would make the Internet less secure without necessarily hampering terrorists. People who are determined to communicate with each other in secret can download encryption softwarefrom the Internet and send messages through systems like Tor that obscure their identities and location.

Of course, governments can and should take steps to identify threats and prevent terrorist attacks through targeted intelligence gathering. But there is good reason to believe that widespread censorship and intrusive surveillance will only undermine personal freedoms and could even make us less secure.

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