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Chat control: Johansson vainly tries to dismiss lobbying network in LIBE Committee

Europaparlament Freiheit, Demokratie und Transparenz Pressemitteilungen

Today, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, had to answer to the LIBE Committee in the course of the lobbying affair concerning Chat control (#ChatControlGate)[1]. Last month, several European media outlets had revealed the close involvement of lobbyists in the preparation of the controversial regulation on sexual child abuse and the interconnections of the EU Commission with a foreign network.[2] Johansson was asked countless critical questions from all parliamentary groups, but she insisted no mistakes had been made. It would only be examined whether she had violated the Digital Services Act with an emotional advertising campaign in member states that reject her Chat control proposal as it stands.

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer, digital freedom fighter and co-negotiator of the proposed regulation, comments:

“It was only to be expected that  Johansson would respond to the revelations with her usual propaganda, such as citing a biased and suggestive Eurobarometer survey that violates the rules of good public opinion research.”[1]

“In order to really hold Johansson accountable for her foreign-influenced bill and her lobbying in office, my committee, on our initiative, has demanded full access to all correspondence of her office with lobbying organisations – such as the secret letters of the dubious US foundation Thorn. Only then can we see the full extent of the entanglement with our own eyes.

“We are having the Legal Service look into legal action against the EU Commission for unfair influence and pressure on the legislative process through targeted false advertising in critical countries. And I have today lodged a complaint with the EU Ombudsman.

“The European Data Protection Supervisor is already investigating. We will hold Ms Johansson accountable for her crimes against our fundamental rights and our democracy!”

Breyer’s question to Johansson in the LIBE Committee today was:

“It is about #ChatControl Gate today, about your links with a foreign lobby network, so close that you wrote to the Thorn boss yourself: ‘The regulation I propose is a strong European response. Without your help we would not have come this far.’

May I congratulate you on your new side job as a surveillance influencer on the internet? Recently, you actually dared to try to put pressure on critical member states in the current legislative process by means of a targeted emotional disinformation campaign using taxpayers’ money.

What would you actually say if Parliament were to place targeted advertisements in your home country, Sweden, in order to criticise your authoritarian Chat control proposal, which is contrary to fundamental rights?

Have you lost all respect for democracy and your role in the legislative process?

If these methods are really as normal as you write, when else did you purposefully pressure specific countries?

The best thing about your scandalous methods is that they have failed politically in the Council and also in Parliament.

We will hold you accountable for your illegal methods! Our legal service is examining a possible lawsuit against the EU Commission . Today I have lodged a complaint with the EU Ombudsman.”

[1] https://www.patrick-breyer.de/en/breyer-on-chat-control-investigative-research-eu-commissioner-as-double-agent-of-foreign-interference/

[2] https://balkaninsight.com/2023/09/25/who-benefits-inside-the-eus-fight-over-scanning-for-child-sex-content/

[3] https://www.patrick-breyer.de/en/chat-control-gate-eu-home-affairs-commissioner-johansson-fails-to-credibly-dispel-lobbying-revelations/