The date for the vote on the chat control regulation has been set: On 8 July, all Members of the European Parliament will cast their vote on the legislation that will allow e-mail and messaging providers to indiscriminately scan and search your private messages for suspicious content in real-time. This will be the final vote on the regulation. Once it has passed, your private communications can be searched by error-prone artificial intelligence technologies. Although these algorithms are meant to search for potential child pornography and grooming, up to 86% of the correspondence reported to the police is not criminally relevant and users are falsely being reported – including many minors.
The EU’s chat control regulation has been found to violate fundamental rights by a former judge of the European Court of Justice. According to a representative poll, 72% of EU citizens clearly reject indiscriminate screening of private correspondence. Despite all that, the Parliament’s Committee for Civil Liberties (LIBE) recommends the plenary to vote in favor of chat control.
The plenary vote is the last chance to stop this law! Contact your Members of Parliament now if you are concerned about #Chatcontrol. A list with all contact details of the MEPs is available for download here.
Background information: How did we get here?
In 2020 the European Commission proposed “temporary” legislation aimed at allowing the search of all private chats, messages, and e-mails for illegal depictions of minors and attempted initiation of contacts with minors. This is to allow the providers of Facebook Messenger, Gmail, et al, to scan every message for suspicious text and images. This takes place in a fully automated process and using error-prone “artificial intelligence”. If an algorithm considers a message suspicious, its content and meta-data are disclosed automatically and without human verification to a private US-based organization and from there to national police authorities worldwide. The reported users are not notified.
Some U.S. providers of services such as Gmail and Outlook.com are already performing such automated messaging and chat controls. Through a second piece of legislation to be proposed soon, the EU Commission intends to oblige all providers of chat, messaging and e-mail services to deploy this mass surveillance technology.