Internet Referrals Unit statistical methodology

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Dear European Police Office,

Under the right of access to documents in the EU treaties, as developed in Regulation 1049/2001, I am requesting documents which contain the following information:

Could you please send me information about the methodology used to calculate the figures presented by your Europol Internet Referrals Unit, stating that you have removed over 11,000 “pieces” of terrorist content in its first year.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/n...

We understand the ITU’s platform for placing takedown requests is now shared by forces in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/n...

We would therefore want to also know about the methodology now used for current statistical accounting for removal of “pieces” of terrorist content, if it has changed.

According to transparency reports at Google, Automattic, Oath and Twitter, relatively small volumes of requests have been received. Each record annual figures in the low hundreds or less, of non-compulsory government requests. Google also submit redacted requests to the Lumen database, showing each EIRU request as containing URLs they have then removed or restricted access to. These generally show a small number of URLs they have removed.

We would expect the biggest volumes of requests to have been made to Google and Twitter.

Thus we are finding it hard to reconcile the platform transparency report figures with EIRU’s headline figure of 11,000 pieces of content requested to be removed in 2016.

Understanding the methodology behind the EIRU figure should not pose any threat to national security or to crime prevention. It should merely explain what Europol and EIRU mean by a “removal” and a “piece of content”. This would greatly aid understanding of what Europol and EIRU are doing.

Conversely, the statistic of “pieces of content” without the methodology has little practical meaning and could be highly misleading. Thus, assuming that the reporting statistics exist in order to give minimum transparency to the Commission, member states, Parliament and the public, we believe that it follows that the methodology should be released in order that the statistic of “pieces of content” removed by EIRU is a meaningful measure of its activity.

I imagine that there is a manual or guide to recording, or a software tool that provides the numbers, which would have configuration settings which would provide the methodology, especially as this is now a shared platform presumably accessed remotely in each participating member state.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

Dear European Police Office,

Can I check that you received this request and whether I will get a reply?

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

Dear European Police Office,

Can you please acknowledge receipt of my request sent to you on April 12, 2018, copied below and available also here:

https://www.asktheeu.org/en/request/inte...

I am asking for documents that describe the methodology for Europol Internet Referrals Unit's figures of 11,000 pieces of terrorist content being removed.

If I do not receive a response by 6 July 2018 I will request internal review.

Yours faithfully,

Jim Killock

Could you please send me information about the methodology used to calculate the figures presented by your Europol Internet Referrals Unit, stating that you have removed over 11,000 “pieces” of terrorist content in its first year.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/n...

We understand the ITU’s platform for placing takedown requests is now shared by forces in Belgium, France and the Netherlands.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/n...

We would therefore want to also know about the methodology now used for current statistical accounting for removal of “pieces” of terrorist content, if it has changed.

According to transparency reports at Google, Automattic, Oath and Twitter, relatively small volumes of requests have been received. Each record annual figures in the low hundreds or less, of non-compulsory government requests. Google also submit redacted requests to the Lumen database, showing each EIRU request as containing URLs they have then removed or restricted access to. These generally show a small number of URLs they have removed.

We would expect the biggest volumes of requests to have been made to Google and Twitter.

Thus we are finding it hard to reconcile the platform transparency report figures with EIRU’s headline figure of 11,000 pieces of content requested to be removed in 2016.

Understanding the methodology behind the EIRU figure should not pose any threat to national security or to crime prevention. It should merely explain what Europol and EIRU mean by a “removal” and a “piece of content”. This would greatly aid understanding of what Europol and EIRU are doing.

Conversely, the statistic of “pieces of content” without the methodology has little practical meaning and could be highly misleading. Thus, assuming that the reporting statistics exist in order to give minimum transparency to the Commission, member states, Parliament and the public, we believe that it follows that the methodology should be released in order that the statistic of “pieces of content” removed by EIRU is a meaningful measure of its activity.

I imagine that there is a manual or guide to recording, or a software tool that provides the numbers, which would have configuration settings which would provide the methodology, especially as this is now a shared platform presumably accessed remotely in each participating member state.