Digitization Ministry will not create a record of ‘illegal online activity’

The Digitization Ministry has announced it will not proceed with the idea of creating a national record of web pages containing “illegal activity,” which was supposed to block such information.

After the Digitization Ministry released information concerning the plans to create a special web registry, Internet users began to worry. Organizations defending Internet users’ rights called the project a plan to “censor the Internet.”

The Ministry’s idea was to block web pages containing “illegal activity.” On Wednesday, the Digitization Minister, Marek Zagórski, announced that the project creating such a registry would not proceed, because the “proposals to block certain sites were not accepted.”

Introducing the ability to track down Internet users who enter sites containing illegal activity was another idea from the Ministry. This was most strongly objected to by Internet organizations.

The Minister expressed disappointment that many people recognized the project as “an attempt to control and censor the Internet.” Mr Zagórski admitted that the decision to abandon the project was made after considering these accusations.

'False accusations'

“All suggestions that the Digitization Ministry or the government were aiming to limit freedom of speech on the Internet in a broad sense are completely false,” the Minister stated.

A register of illegal online gambling sites already exists. The idea of creating a common register was an answer to the need to regulate the recurring issue of designer drugs and online trafficking. Instead of creating a new register of sites offering designer drugs and having two separate records, the Ministry wanted to create a national register of all types of illegal online activity.

Avoiding protests

The current Law and Justice government could be considering the possibility that protests might be triggered, such as the ones against the ACTA agreement in 2012. The ACTA agreement was also accused of being an attempt to censor the Internet, and the ratification process was eventually suspended by the then-ruling Civic Platform.

Facebook with “Polish rules”

Mr Zagórski also referred to an already-presented idea to create a team of social media contacts who would ease the solving of disputes between social media administrators and users. The Minister wants social media to “take into account the Polish cultural context.” This would prevent administrators from deleting material which “complies with Polish norms but does not meet global standards.”

The Minister also said the government has “the ability to regulate the functioning of social media in Poland,” yet he would rather solve problems in cooperation with the sites.