EU’s Content Filtering Rules and New Trends in Tech

The National legislators in the European Union Member States have successfully passed content filtering laws to combat hate speech, child sexual abuse, terrorist content, and other societal phenomena on the internet.

A common denominator of the regulatory measures is a divergence from conditional intermediate liability to making intermediaries directly accountable for transmitting illicit and misleading content on their platforms.

Various web platforms have detected, removed, and reported child sexual abuse materials (CSAM); however, the measures instituted vary from provider to provider. The EU has concluded that it will not be enough to leave it to voluntary action alone.

As a result of the combined EU legislature and the European court jurisprudence, content filtering measures continue to be used in a preventive and automated approach. However, using them in digital services freely generates concerns about compliance with human rights standards, often leading to allegations of implementing a new form of “digital censorship.”

What Does Content Filtering Mean?

What is content filtering? Content filtering, also known as web filtering, involves removing unwanted content from web pages and emails. Certain content needs to be removed for reasons such as preventing harmful and malicious websites and content while maintaining relevant and appropriate information for the consumption of the perfect audience.

Content filtering solutions work by defining content patterns such as image patterns or text strings. When these patterns are not in sync, the software labels the content objectionable and goes ahead to flag or block it. For example, the web filtering strategy monitors and restricts the connection to content flagged as offensive, risky, or inappropriate. 

Companies filter their content utilizing firewalls. But while it’s not that standard, remote computer users use content filtering for various purposes. For example, parents can deploy it to protect their young ones from accessing content that is either too advanced for their age or inappropriate.

How Does Content Filtering Work?

Content filters work for different people in different ways. Internet firewalls offer content filters either as software or hardware. The benefit of both features is to bolster company policies and cybersecurity in connection with the application of company data systems.

For instance, Content filters will block knitting social networking sites (in connection to company policy) and harmful websites (cybersecurity). This helps corporations ensure a safe and sane workplace environment for their workforce, evacuating potential liabilities and the possibility of the workers’ or systems’ wellbeing being compromised and attaining the long-term company goal.

Employees engrossed in pornographic content could result in a hostile work environment with the possibility of sexual harassment. And downloading content that could lead to spam could pose a high risk of malware transmission on computers. Hateful or violent content are examples too, and they can compromise a company’s workforce’s safety and even hamper the overall corporate image, efficiency, and productivity.

Benefits of Content Filtering Channels

The benefit of content filtering can be maximized by utilizing filtering solutions across different platforms. For utmost results, these channels could include:

Internet: Corporations worldwide rely on the internet for diverse solutions, and it helps keep a company’s resources secure by filtering web traffic following a given set of rules.

Email: Remote workers rely a lot on their emails to keep updated with their companies and clients. However, these mediums are heavy targets for hackers and cyberthugs. Content filter solutions scan email content to remove potentially harmful emails from the primary inbox. It considers attachment types, specific words, phrases, and other keywords detected to decide if such content should be directed into the junk folder or even flagged as an “undeliverable” item.

Program files: An employee may unknowingly try to download programs and run them, but it may be malicious. With the help of content filtering solutions, these harmful content will be blocked before they can cause damage.

Content Filtering Trends in Tech

1. Remote Deployment

Many companies were forced to keep their business activities going by deploying remote work systems and content filters during the heat of the pandemic lockdown.

Three top trends in deploying content filters for remote systems include:

Remote takeover: IT teams take up remote control of employee systems to create content filters for companies.

Client-side instruction – Direct workers to install content filtering solutions by themselves.

Switching service providers – Leveraging platforms that provide in-built content filtering solutions like Google Workspace.

2. Internal Communication

Internal communication received high consideration during the COVID era. For example, company executives considered emails and virtual meetings over in-company activities such as HR. And IT teams have quickly grown to embrace the system. 

However, some internal and external forces have tried to hijack these new communication methods, which is why applying content filters becomes crucial. This would help to prevent hackers trying to impersonate IT representatives or HR to steal data and penetrate 0within the network.

3. Category-Based Filters

The new content filtering solutions differ from the old traditional method, which has a long list of blocked content but permits everything else. Instead, the new solutions offer category-based filtering so that organizations have the option of restricting specific website categories such as entertainment, religious, banking, gaming, adult, online shopping, and gambling. 

4. URL filtering

URL filtering is an aspect of content filtering that has continued to gain momentum in recent times. These solutions help businesses secure their networks from tracking and web-based threats. It works through the creation of ‘allow rules’ that work together with business applications.

A company manager can outline the URL categories and block those exploitive and potentially harmful to the system. Companies that cannot acquire large-scale filters but still need the solution for their remote employees can consider URL filtering a straightforward approach to reduce network vulnerability and exposure without hindering employee access or affecting productivity.