Strasbourg, 07/02/2024 – Today, the European Parliament supported a one-year extension of the temporary derogation from the ePrivacy Directive, also known as Chat Control 1.0. The regulation allows for untargeted, general and indiscriminate searches of private messages by US big tech companies, aiming to detect suspicious content. Pirate Party Members of the European Parliament have long advocated and campaigned against this error-prone and arbitrary technology, which represents the end of the privacy of digital correspondence and fails to provide effective solutions against grooming.
Patrick Breyer, Member of the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party, comments:
“After Pirates have successfully defused the #ChatControl 2.0 mass surveillance fantasies of Commissioner Ylva Johansson, this extension of untargeted, general and indiscriminate chat control is the admission of failure to protect children better and in line with our fundamental rights. Instead of taking up the EU Parliament’s new approach for more effective and court-proof child protection without mass surveillance, Johansson is incorrigibly insisting in the destruction of digital privacy of correspondence, playing for time and hoping to manipulate critical EU states into agreeing by running infamous campaigns and spreading misinformation. The extension of indiscriminate and general #ChatControl 1.0, no matter by how long, will only be the first precedent and indiscriminate searches in our personal messages and photos by US Big Tech will de facto become the permanent solution.”
Marcel Kolaja, Member and Quaestor of the European Parliament for the Czech Pirate Party, comments:
“Most of us are probably no longer under any illusions about how tech giants approach user privacy. That’s why I find it completely irresponsible that they have a tool in their hands that allows them to look into everyone’s private messages. We have laws that guarantee privacy for a reason. And to exempt those who have historically been the least responsible with our personal data is ridiculous. Of course, we need to protect children, who are being targeted by predators on the Internet. However, in all the time that some Internet services have been snooping in people’s private communication, we have seen no convincing evidence that it has actually helped to successfully protect children. Instead, this dogged effort at blanket snooping is blocking steps that could actually help. That is why we should unequivocally reject chat control, both now as a voluntary tool and later as a compulsory one, and finally take real action to help children.”
Today’s plenary vote had been requested by the Pirate’s group Greens/EFA. Negotiations on the extension are to be concluded next week in a fast-track procedure. Breyer is suing Meta in court to stop the scanning.
In the meantime, the Belgian Council Presidency intends to pursue the proposal to make chat control scanning mandatory for all providers, even services that are so far securely end-to-end encrypted (Chat Control 2.0). EU interior ministers are to discuss the Council’s position on 5 March.
Find more information on #ChatControl and what you can do against it on our website.