Chatcontrol: European Parliament approves mass surveillance of private communications

Today, the European Parliament approved the ePrivacy Derogation, allowing providers of e-mail and messaging services to automatically search all personal messages of each citizen for presumed suspect content and report suspected cases to the police. The European Pirates Delegation in the Greens/EFA group strongly condemns this automated mass surveillance, which effectively means the end of privacy in digital correspondence. Pirate Party MEPs plan to take legal action.

In today’s vote, 537 Members of the European Parliament approved Chatcontrol, with 133 voting against and 24 abstentions.[1] According to police data, in the vast majority of cases, innocent citizens come under suspicion of having committed an offence due to unreliable processes. In a recent representative poll, 72% of EU citizens opposed general monitoring of their messages.[2] While providers will initially have a choice to search or not to search communications, follow-up legislation, expected in autumn, is to oblige all communications service providers to indiscriminate screening. 

Breyer: “This harms children rather than protecting them”

German Pirate Party Member of the European Parliament Patrick Breyer, shadow rapporteur on the legislative proposal, comments:

“The adoption of the first ever EU regulation on mass surveillance is a sad day for all those who rely on free and confidential communications and advice, including abuse victims and press sources. The regulation deals a death blow to the confidentiality of digital correspondence. It is a general breach of the dam to permit indiscriminate surveillance of private spaces by corporations – by this totalitarian logic, our post, our smartphones or our bedrooms could also be generally monitored. Unleashing such denunciation machines on us is ineffective, illegal and irresponsible.

Indiscriminate searches will not protect children and even endanger them by exposing their private photos to unknown persons, and by criminalising children themselves. Already overburdened investigators are kept busy with having to sort out thousands of criminally irrelevant messages. The victims of such a terrible crime as child sexual abuse deserve measures that prevent abuse in the first place. The right approach would be, for example, to intensify undercover investigations into child porn rings and reduce of the years-long processing backlogs in searches and evaluations of seized data.

Pirates plan legal action against the regulation

The EU’s plans for chat control have been confirmed to violate fundamental rights by a former judge of the European Court of Justice.[3] Patrick Breyer plans to take legal action against the regulation and is looking for victims of abuse who would file such a complainant. „Abuse victims are particularly harmed by this mass surveillance“, explains Breyer. „To be able to speak freely about the abuse they have suffered and seek help in a safe space is critical to victims of sexualised violence. These safe spaces are now being taken away from them, which will prevent victims from seeking help and support.“

The European Commission has already announced a follow-up regulation to make chat control mandatory for all email and messaging providers. Previously secure end-to-end encrypted messenger services such as Whatsapp or Signal would be forced to install a backdoor. There is a considerable backlash against these plans: A public consultation carried out by the EU Commission revealed that 51% of all respondents oppose chat control for e-mail and messaging providers. 80% of respondents do not want chat control to be applied to encrypted messages. [4] Due to the resistance, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johannson has postponed the proposal until September 2021.  

More Information on Chatcontrol: www.chatcontrol.eu

[1] https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/PV-9-2021-07-06-RCV_FR.docx 

[2] https://www.patrick-breyer.de/en/poll-72-of-citizens-oppose-eu-plans-to-search-all-private-messages-for-allegedly-illegal-material-and-report-to-the-police/

[3] https://www.patrick-breyer.de/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Legal-Opinion-Screening-for-child-pornography-2021-03-04.pdf

[4] https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/have-your-say/initiatives/12726-Child-sexual-abuse-online-detection-removal-and-reporting-/public-consultation_de

40 comments on “Chatcontrol: European Parliament approves mass surveillance of private communications

  1. Anonymous says:

    Where can we see who voted for this?

  2. Anonymous says:

    This will not backfire at all..

  3. Anonymous says:

    What if the post office was tasked to read all letters. This is not a step in the right direction. You are presumed to be guilty until proven innocent

    • ramon says:

      I guess we shouls start chatting on paper letters, this would be a new pricacy service, I think they would need trillion people to read all letters. They want to be carbon neutral? Then fuck this Spying law with the fake excuse of child protection. It was set up from the beginning so they can legally spy everyone s lives. Who knows who is going to be behind the screens monitoring our privatec conversations, probably the NSA, CIA, INTERPOL, who are full of infiltrated criminals!!!! We cant let these stalinistic nostalgic sociopaths rule our lives!

  4. Ibram K. says:

    How likely is it that this will be mandated?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Matrix + Email-encryption era is coming.

    • ramon says:

      yeah blockchain based decentralised run by the people , with a community voting system.

  6. Rick Sanchez says:

    Welcome to the Republics of the Union of European Socialist Republics.
    George Orwell like it!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Having providers open up secure pipelines in combination with all of the supply chain hacks going on isn’t going to backfire at all (yes sarcasm) I wonder how long it’s going to take for all of the EU parlement private messages to end up for sale on the web….

  8. Pako Schmacko says:

    So basically we are entering the tyranny state? All of our private communications being monitored? What kind of satan came up with that idea? What next, mandatory anal probing to see if we don’t carry drugs or child pornography there “just in case”? EU is going to be a really sad, scary place, soon.

  9. AMG says:

    In diesem Kommentar geht es um das Motiv von Gesetzesinitiativen wie dieser aus einem Artikel von J.S. Nelson nannte Management und Kultur.
    Es umfasst grenzenlose Überwachung durch Regierung und Management.

    “Management und Regierungen nutzen die Überwachung, um die zwischenmenschlichen Beziehungen der Arbeitnehmer zu bewerten, ihre Gespräche zu studieren, Daten über ihre Gesundheit zu sammeln, zu verfolgen, wohin sie am Arbeitsplatz und außerhalb des Arbeitsplatzes reisen, sowie ihre emotionalen Reaktionen zu überwachen und zu manipulieren. Viele dieser Überschreitungen werden im Namen der Unternehmenskontrolle gerechtfertigt. Diese Begründung sollte uns beunruhigen…”

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/16wE3wbbdKjdB2x1ZMc1SuPHP9cuJiXGL/view?usp=sharing

  10. anon999 says:

    I’m gonna say it.
    we all know who is doing this kind of laws. a certain type of people, who is in power, and afraid they get exposed. I won’t say the word, but we all know who it is, who is in control of the media; politics and everything.

    “To find out who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.”

  11. Scorpene says:

    First Orban uses the child abuse narrative to explicitly undermine gay rights in his country. Now the EU uses the same narrative to outright destroy free speech (what is left of it in the EU anyway) and privacy by passing laws that one wouldn’t believe they are not from an Orwell novel were it not for the history of them having taken several steps into that direction already.

    Is there any realistic chance that this doesn’t go into effect, for instance, due to violating fundamental EU rights?

    • hayek says:

      ‘fundamental rights’?
      You made me chuckle.
      These ‘rights’ are removed (temporarily or permanently) when they become inconvenient.

  12. Derp says:

    I am always amazed the lengths Narcissists and Psychopaths will go to in an attempt to impose social dominance. Meanwhile, real predators will be using more underground services as whistleblowers and journalists will be hunted.

    Its quite obvious what they are up to. Now what happens when a totalitarian leader comes along?

  13. Michael says:

    What I find most appalling is that the EU just makes these decisions for all of us. Most people didn’t even know about the vote. News (national media) did not report on it. Disgusting practices. Is there anywhere in the world where one can just live in piece without strangers invading their lives?

  14. Paul says:

    Just switch to delta.chat.

    • Anonymous says:

      I tried delta.chat, but it does not work very well on Linux. Also, extreme message delays are common.
      My personal experience is better with Jabber/XMPP, e.g. with Dino on Linux (and Conversations for those who use Android, Monal or Siskin for the iOS victims).

  15. Kill me says:

    What is the easiest way to make your own end to end encrypted open source messaging service?

    • Anonymous says:

      “What is the easiest way to make your own end to end encrypted open source messaging service?”

      snikket.org

  16. Edgar says:

    It’s sad to see that people in the comments are attacking each other rather than taking action or working together. What’s happening on the planet is a mirror of the people themselves. In these moments it is becoming obvious why we are entering this era of surveillance.
    People need to unite and stop pushing out their individual believe systems.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This will likely be looked back on as the beginning of the end for the EU in future History books. This level of human rights abuse and totalitarianism will only bring one end.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Nightmare! I want to wake up!

  19. Free communication says:

    Just like they can’t control decentralized money aka Bitcoin. They won’t be able to control decentralized P2P communications.
    Web3 and Streamr Network for real time data.

  20. Jany says:

    This legislation follows on and is an extension of the Australian anti-encryption legislation. They passed laws to force software providers to include backdoors and customized updates for specific users. This law is much more encompassing and casts a wide net over everyone’s communication. To prevent this happening to you, use a communication system that does not rely on middlemen messaging servers, who decrypt and monitor your chats. Instead, use something like DeltaChat, which utilised a AutoCrypt protocol for end to end encryption without an intermediary. These are pur client apps that send encrypted messages using SMTP/POP as the transport protocols. The sooner everyone moves to something like that, the better. The EU’s have gone beyong their initial scope of an economic collective and are now intruding into social and medical issues. Good luck to everyone in the EU. Love

  21. Anonymous says:

    THIS IS NOT A DEMOCRACY AT ALL.

  22. R4nG3r says:

    What about Session which is using Blockchain or Threema with servers in Switzerland, outside of EU

  23. Mindaugas Kiskis says:

    Is anyone coordinating a legal challenge against this?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Nice to see there is at least one place that shows what parties voted for these totalitarian laws

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