The EU Internet Referral Unit (EU IRU), which is part of Europol’s European Counter Terrorism Centre (ECTC), started its operations in the wake of the series of terrorist attacks that shook Europe in 2015. Its mandate includes referring terrorist and violent extremist content to online service providers and providing support to Member States and third parties in the context of internet investigations. The EU IRU also provides support to Europol’s European Migrant Smuggling Centre (EMSC), by flagging detected internet content used by traffickers to offer smuggling services to migrants and refugees.
The EU IRU’s mission is to link the virtual face of terrorism to its physical aspect, by bridging the gap between prevention and investigation capabilities. Its ultimate objective is to reduce the accessibility of terrorist content online by providing a resilient referral capability to the Member States, and to provide a core internet-based investigation support capability to respond to their operational needs.
The EU IRU is committed to being transparent about its mandate, its legal framework and how it enforces its policies. As part of this commitment, the EU IRU publishes once a year its transparency report, a comprehensive summary of its achievements now at its third edition.
This report gives an account of the EU IRU’s major activities in 2019, and more specifically, it sheds light on both the prevention activities and the investigative support the EU IRU provided upon request of EU Member States.