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Chat control: Mass surveillance proposal will let children down

European Parliament Freedom, democracy and transparency Press releases

EU Interior Ministers today discussed the proposal to automatically search all private correspondence for suspected content (so-called „chat control“). They insisted in pursuing an approach of mass surveillance. Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party), negotiator for the Greens/EFA group, comments:

„EU governments are pursuing a mass surveillance scheme so extreme that it doesn’t exist anywhere else in the free world. The only country practising such indiscriminate searches is authoritarian China.

Instead of defending our values and the fundamental rights of children, victims and anybody, governments are working behind closed doors to make the Commission’s proposal even worse. They want to censor search engines where abhorrent images need removing at their source. They want to remove the requirement of a court order for removal and blocking orders. They seek to erode the independence requirements proposed by the Commission and the transparency statistics intended to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme.

In view of the damning criticism by civil society and the institutions tasked with protecting the fundamental rights of Europeans, nobody is helping children by pursuing a regulation that will invariably fail in the European Court of Justice for violating the Charter of Fundamental Rights. What is really needed is a long overdue obligation on law enforcement authorities to delete known abuse material on the Internet, as well as Europe-wide standards for effective prevention measures, victim assistance and counseling, and timely criminal investigations.“