“We need to get internet companies to take responsibility, and cooperate with our counterterrorism teams, in order to remove radical content, and allow us to analyse data,” said Dati and Hohlmeier. They highlighted the impact of the “Hollywood-style videos” that are part of the Islamic State’s propaganda campaign. Of the 5000 Europeans leaving for Syria and Iraq, many are women: a phenomenon that Dati especially expressed disbelief at, as she questioned, “How can women in Europe, with all their liberties, be attracted to go to caves and hideouts where they are raped and forcibly impregnated?”. Former judge Dati called for criminal penalties for posting and viewing radical content on the Internet.
“How can women in Europe, with all their liberties, be attracted to go to caves and hideouts where they are raped and forcibly impregnated?”
The internet security question is one that has created pockets of resistance in the European Parliament, as it taps into the larger question of freedom of speech and information. When pressed on this issue, Hohlmeier was quick to clarify that “We do not want mass data collection. We want access to data that will be analysed by algorithms, and will give us to the information needed to find the terrorists.” She also stated that the police need more access to cybersecurity technology, in order to better track the coded channels of communication favoured by potential terrorists.
Another core issue of debate was that of terrorist funding. Dati stated that “politicians like to sweep this topic under the carpet”, however both herself and Hohlmeier were adamant on the need for more surveillance and transparency on funds entering European territories. Especially from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. On these, Dati stated they should “be our allies in everything, not just in buying arms.” She brought attention to the fact that many of the mosques and imams being funded by Saudi were not being checked on in France, which, in her eyes, leaves too much risk for the propagation of hate preaching and radicalization.
Saudi Arabia and Qatar should be our allies in everything, not just in buying arms.
The two solutions presented were the establishment of sovereign funds, which would allow for scrutiny before entry into the country of destination, and greater cooperation from banks with regards to suspicious direct transfers. Furthermore, as Dati explained, “Europe helped the United States set up its terrorist financing tracking system, but doesn’t have one of its own. We have to ask the USA for information at the moment, which leaves holes in security.”
The proposals in the report aim to close many of these current holes in security and Member States' cooperation, which terrorists like the Paris attackers are able to exploit for their own ends. “At the moment, intelligence services are having problems exchanging information across borders. As the events in Paris have shown, this needs to change,” said Dati.