Europe will review the personal messages of its citizens

The internet is great information and entertainment tool. The new generations do not conceive of a world where they cannot access all the services they use online, what is more, it is necessary to bring them closer to digital tools as they will be part of their future training. However, there are many dangers on the Internet that have been increasing in recent years, which is why Europe decided that it will allow its authorities to access personal messages.


Seeking the safety of minors on the internet, the European Parliament approved the Repeal of electronic privacy. That means that email and messaging service providers now have an obligation to automatically search all personal messages of each citizen for suspected suspicious content and report them to the police.


In the vote, the European Parliament approved what is known as Chatcontrol, with 133 votes against it and 20 abstentions.


The European Union (EU) explained that while providers will initially have the option to search or not to search for communications, the follow-up legislation, which is expected to be approved by the fall, will oblige all communications service providers to carry out controls. indiscriminate.


In this way, end-to-end encrypted messaging services, such as WhatsApp or Signal, will be forced to install a back door. Thus, in the case of images and videos, the system would compare it with a database with illegal content to search for matches and, where appropriate, alert the authorities. And, for text, classifiers and artificial intelligence would be applied that would analyze the data to detect cyberbullying.


The reason behind the measure is that, during the pandemic, cases of child sexual abuse on the internet have worsened. However, European legislators clarified that it is a temporary solution that will last for a maximum of three years unless new rules are agreed upon first.


The critics


As expected, many are not taking the measure well that they consider a serious breach of people's privacy.


An example of this is the European Pirate Party through social networks and page internet has strongly condemned what it considers a mass surveillance automated, which "means the end of privacy in the digital correspondence." The agency also noted that they plan to take legal action against the measure.


Beyond the issue of privacy, another concern they are expressing is that, according to police data, in the vast majority of cases, innocent citizens are suspected of having committed a crime due to unreliable processes. Furthermore, in a recent representative survey, 72% of EU citizens opposed the general monitoring of their messages. While 80% of respondents do not want control to be applied to encrypted messages.


The Member of the European Parliament of the German Pirate Party, Patrick Breyer, said: “The adoption of the first EU regulation on mass surveillance is a sad day for all those who depend on free and confidential communication and advice, including victims of abuses and press sources. The regulation deals a fatal blow to the confidentiality of digital correspondence. Allowing the indiscriminate surveillance of private spaces by corporations, in a totalitarian logic, our publication, our smartphones, or our rooms could also be monitored in general. Complaints will be ineffective, illegal and irresponsible ”.


He also assured that accessing the messages will not protect children, and will even put them in danger by exposing their private photos to unknown people and by criminalizing the children themselves. Investigators, already overburdened, are kept busy with having to solve thousands of criminally irrelevant messages. Victims of a crime as terrible as child sexual abuse deserve steps that prevent the abuse in the first place. The correct approach would be, for example, to intensify covert investigations into child pornography networks and reduce years of processing delays in searches and evaluations of seized data. "


To initiate the lawsuit against the measure, they are looking for victims of abuse who, he assures, will be especially harmed by this massive surveillance. “Being able to speak freely about the abuse they have suffered and seeking help in a safe space is essential for victims of sexual violence. they depend on the ability to communicate safely and confidentially. These safe spaces are now being taken away from them, which will prevent victims from seeking help and support, ”Breyer warned.

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