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First insight: 42 key points of the secret #EUGoingDark surveillance plan for the new EU Commission

Europaparlament Freiheit, Demokratie und Transparenz Press releases
Title of the info graphic: EuGoingDark – Surveillance Plan for the EU

Objective: Access to all devices and data at all times

Next to a laptop, a server, a gaming controler, a smartphone and a car the following bullet points:

· EU-wide blanket data retention 
· Police master key to smartphones, cars, Iot devices etc. 
· »Access by Design« for all devices 
· Geolocation Tracking Switch: to turn on / off geolocation of users 
· Access to content data despite encryption 
· Tech standards adapted for access (6 G Internet)

After Sunday‘s European elections, the EU is planning to reintroduce indiscriminate communications data retention without suspicion and force manufacturers to allow law enforcement access to digital devices such as smartphones and cars. This is the “confidential” 42-point plan compiled by a “high-level group of experts” set up by EU governments and the EU Commission, which Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer was able to look into (Council document 9984/24 *update: netzpolitik.org has published the PDF document). The EU Commission has already submitted proposals on how it intends to make previously secure devices accessible to the police.

Specifically, according to the 42-point surveillance plan, manufacturers are to be legally obliged to make digital devices such as smartphones, smart homes, IoT devices, and cars monitorable at all times (“access by design”). Messenger services that were previously securely encrypted are to be forced to allow for interception. Data retention, which was overturned by the EU Court of Justice, is to be reenacted and extended to OTT internet communications services such as messenger services. “At the very least”, IP connection data retention is to be required to be able to track all internet activities. The secure encryption of metadata and subscriber data is to be prohibited. Where requested by the police, GPS location tracking should be activated by service providers (“tracking switch”). Uncooperative providers are to be threatened with prison sentences. The results of the hacking of an entire communication service, as in the Encrochat case (the evidence has been rejected by some courts), shall be used as evidence in court.

The EU Commission has already contributed specific proposals to the surveillance plan, according to two presentations obtained by the Pirates. A legal framework for access to encrypted devices that are “proven to be used exclusively for criminal communication” is among its proposals. Manufacturers such as Apple should be forced to help crack the encryption of confiscated smartphones.[1] The directorate of EU Commissioner for Home Affairs “Big Sister” Johansson is also proposing the reintroduction of a Europe-wide obligation to retain communications data indiscriminately.[2]

“Experience has shown that this secret wish list of EU governments stands an excellent chance of being hastily implemented by the next EU Commission under the auspices of ‘Big Sister’ von der Leyen, right after the European elections,” warns Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer. “After all, she wants to stay in power with the help of the heads of government who commission this plan. This extreme surveillance plan must not become a reality, if only because it has been cooked up by a completely one-sided secret group of surveillance fanatics working without any real transparency or democratic legitimacy. We Pirates are declaring war on this secret plan and call on von der Leyen to distance herself from it and also from the proposals now made public by her own Commissioner for Home Affairs!

Anyone who attacks our right to secure encryption is not only attacking our legally guaranteed right to privacy but also European businesses that rely on it. Forcing access to encrypted smartphones used ‘exclusively for criminal purposes’ would render our smartphones generally accessible and insecure. The planned internet data retention threatens to destroy our right to anonymity online, which enables crime prevention through anonymous counseling and pastoral care, victim support through anonymous self-help forums, and also investigative journalism, which often relies on anonymous whistleblowers.”

The Pirate Party’s lead candidate for the European elections and digital expert Anja Hirschel comments: “The going-dark plans are an unprecedented, excessive leap directly into a fully monitored society. Everything we do, where we go, and with whom we communicate would be accessible at all times and without limits. The surveillors themselves prefer to remain in the dark. We can not allow this to be implemented!”

[1] https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/documents-of-the-hlg-on-access-to-data-for-effective-law-enforcement-and-of-its-sub-groups/908533/anhang/document20-highlevelgrouponaccesstodataforeffectivelawenforcement-3rdmeetingofworkinggroup1-presentationcom.pdf

[2] https://fragdenstaat.de/anfrage/documents-of-the-hlg-on-access-to-data-for-effective-law-enforcement-and-of-its-sub-groups/908533/anhang/document21-highlevelgrouponaccesstodataforeffectivelawenforcement-3rdmeetingofworkinggroup2-presentationcom.pdf