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Chatcontrol: European Parliament approves mass surveillance of private communications

Press releases

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 chat control: www.chatcontrol.eu

How did your Members of the European Parliament vote?

[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


  • Anonymous

    Where can we see who voted for this?

    • royale von cheese

      does SNCB still have pics of missing kids in the trams? (at least, dozens per year).

      Where is Dutroux now?

      Which are harder to catch, terrorists or pedophiles?

    • Anonymous
    • Dries De Decker

      Page 8 of this document: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/PV-9-2021-07-06-RCV_FR.docx

      537 in favor
      133 against

      The Left and the Greens were almost entirely against, the non-attached members were divided, other fractions were almost entirely in favor.

    • Dries De Decker

      First link under the blog post, page 8.

    • david

      you can vote for people that don’t make shit decisions, there are actually elections every 5 years, the thing is people always vote for the same big parties, so they do whatever they want…

  • Anonymous

    This will not backfire at all..

  • Anonymous

    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

      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!

      • Anonymous

        PGP 🙂

        • Anonymous

          Yeah, sure, when your phone sends the Information that is typed BEFORE sending the message. That wont work. You would need your own OS.

    • Kara

      Just expect that the Post scans every letter and package for its contents.
      Theres so much going on behind closed doors thats not known to the public so I wouldnt be surprised about something like this.

  • Hhhhhhhh

    A fascist commenting in Pirate Party blog? Why you don’t rot in any of other fascists holes that are in internet?

    • Wth

      You both are against censorship. Why does it matter which sides you represent – it might one of many points on which both certain factions of left and right agree on.
      Who the fuck really wants to be spied on?…

  • Ibram K.

    How likely is it that this will be mandated?

  • Anonymous

    Matrix + Email-encryption era is coming.

    • ramon

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

  • Rick Sanchez

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

  • Anonymous

    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….

  • Pako Schmacko

    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.

    • hayek

      This was always going to happen.
      Centralisation of power is BAD

  • Dries De Decker

    Troll. The left and the greens were the only fractions to vote almost entirely against this.

  • AMG

    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…”


  • anon999

    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.”

  • Scorpene

    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

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

  • Derp

    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?

  • Michael

    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?

    • Anonymous

      It’s called ANTARTIDA 🙂
      Penguins are good neighbors

  • Paul

    Just switch to delta.chat.

    • Anonymous

      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).

  • Kill me

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

    • Anonymous

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


  • Edgar

    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.

  • Anonymous

    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.

  • Anonymous

    Nightmare! I want to wake up!

  • Free communication

    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.

  • Vader2

    If you use regular email start PGP encrypting everything. Even better, move fully to Tor, preferably using Tails anonymous amnesic operating system. We must unite and overwhelm their resources!

    • Enlor

      That won’t work for long as that’s also being attacked and also governments can easily buy the relay nodes. Same with VPN’s they can have a private agreement with them to allow their own servers and just not disclose it. They are trying to break all encryption using quantum computers with little success yet but there is many other ways they can do it.

      There is no way out of tyranny like that, it needs removing by the people worldwide. They are committing cyber attacks by using mass surveillance. You can’t deal with bullies any other way than giving them a taste of their own medicine. Therefore, they are essentially putting all of our countries at risk and have been doing so in many countries since the Snowden revelations started.

      Some people will respond digitally to the attack if there’s even a sniff of evidence of them being spied on.

      Hope they are happy with the world they are bringing us into because it’s gonna be a massively insecure one.

  • Mathias

    You should have picked a different name, not #chatcontrol.

    The English word “control” rather means “to rule, to be in charge of”. Like the government is in control of the police, or I control my body. It doesn’t really mean to check upon, or to surveil. If people see a poor headline, they will even more tend to misunderstand a topic that has already been engineered to be misunderstood, in order to hide that it is just plain and simple totalitarian mass surveillance.

    I propose something like #stopEUmasssurveillance as an alternative.

  • Enlor

    Mass surveillance is a cyber attack. Plain and simple.

    Anyone supporting it supports authoritarianism because if you spied on governments they would call you a cyber criminal.

    What makes them different?

  • M

    If this chatcontrole become real, is there a way to prevent us from tracking.
    Are there any apps who will not be affected.

    What can we do to underminde this chatcontrole and have still real E2E ?

    Some ideas ?

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