Press release

Major Pirates win: Parliament against #ChatControl

Brussels, 14/11/2023 – Today, the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) approved a compromise between negotiators of all political groups on the Child Sexual Abuse Regulation (CSAR). MEPs agreed to protect encryption and completely overhaul the European Commission’s initial proposal, which foresaw indiscriminate mass surveillance of all EU citizens in search of suspicious content, also called ‘Chat Control’. Instead, the new rules will focus on effective child protection through targeted surveillance, secure default settings for services and much more. The CSAR file will move directly into trilogue negotiations with the Council of the EU.

The agreement is a major success for the Pirate Party Members of the European Parliament, who have long advocated and campaigned against this unprecedented mass surveillance tool and were the first ones to frame the proposal “ChatControl”. German Pirate Party MEP and digital rights activist Patrick Breyer negotiated the compromise as Greens/EFA Shadow rapporteur in the leading LIBE Committee. Czech Pirate Party MEP Marcel Kolaja, Quaestor of the European Parliament, dealt with the proposal as Opinon shadow rapporteur in the IMCO and CULT Committees.

You can find a detailed analysis of the European Parliament’s position here.

Pirate Party MEP Patrick Breyer, Greens/EFA Shadow rapporteur in the LIBE Committee, comments:

“Under the impression of massive protests against the looming indiscriminate chat control mass scanning of private messages, we managed to win a broad majority for a different, new approach to protecting young people from abuse and exploitation online. As a Pirate and digital freedom fighter, I am proud of this breakthrough. The winners of this mandate are on the one hand our children, who will be protected much more effectively and in a court-proof manner, and on the other hand all citizens, whose digital privacy of correspondence and communication security will be guaranteed.”

Pirate Party MEP Marcel Kolaja, Greens/EFA Opinion shadow rapporteur in the IMCO and CULT Committees, comments:

“The Commission’s proposed blanket screening of online communication under the guise of child protection legislation was Orwellian, unethical and unfit for purpose. Now, thanks to our efforts, the Parliament stands behind citizen’s right to private communication as well as protecting minors online.

“Under the European Parliament’s version, only a judge will be able to order the scanning of private communications, and only for specific suspects. We have also protected the end-to-end encryption of private messages and ensured that even minors can continue to use messaging apps like WhatsApp or Matrix. We urge national governments to see the need to protect children and privacy online and to support the version of the text put forward by the European Parliament.”

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