EU should share web terrorism monitoring: Germany

Germany will push the European Union's member states to agree to share the surveillance of militant websites when it takes over the bloc's presidency in January, a senior German official said on Monday.

"What we want to get is this kind of workshare between the member states ... because on their own (they) are not able to check the whole web, it is too big," said Guenter Krause, director general of the German Interior Ministry's police department.

Police say the Internet has taken on huge importance for militant groups, enabling them to share know-how and spread propaganda to a mass audience, as well as link cell members planning specific operations.

Krause pointed out to EU lawmakers that not all member states have experts who can translate and analyze websites used by militants to give, for example, bomb-making instructions in languages ranging from Arabic to Urdu.

"We should exchange the links we have under surveillance so we can decide whether we do it, or let it be done by the British for example, or by the French colleagues," said Krause, who will chair the top EU police and security experts' meetings in the first half of 2007.

Smaller countries which lack the resources to check the web would benefit from their EU counterparts' findings, he said.

Krause said discussions about this division of labour had already started with France and Britain. "These countries are the ones doing the most work in this field," he said.

From the Middle East, Asia and Europe, Islamists have built a large Internet library of sophisticated texts on the ideology that underpins violence against the West and other enemies, analysts and intelligence officials said.

The EU's membership will increase to 27 on January 1 when Bulgaria and Romania join the bloc.

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