EU proposes wild law that will let them scan your messages

The EU seems like a big proponent of consumer privacy. So much so that they passed the GDPR law. But it’s starting to feel like maybe they’re cherry picking what’s considered to be private and what isn’t. This is due to a recently proposed legislation in the EU that would basically create a system that could scan your messages.

Now, this isn’t as nefarious as you think, at least on the surface. The EU claims that this is done to prevent the spread of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM). The idea was initially proposed back in 2022 and now it’s one step further in its progress of becoming an actual law.

Stopping the spread of CSAM is very obviously a good thing. The issue here is the privacy ramifications and also the potential for abuse. What’s to stop bad actors from hijacking this system? Or what’s to stop governments from spying on their own citizens?

The law, if passed, would require services that allow the sending of messages, to install this monitoring technology. Users will of course be asked their permission whether they allow their messages to be scanned. Sounds good, right? But if you say no, then you won’t be able to share images or website URLs.

It also seems to want to bypass the encryption that many messenger services implement. It suggests that this scanning system will scan the contents of your messages before it is passed through an encryption service. That basically negates the whole point. It appears that many aren’t a fan of this proposal.

Signal president Meredith Whittaker has stated that the app will stop working in the EU if these rules become law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy & Technology, and Mozilla have also stepped forward with their own joint statement in urging the EU to reject these proposals.

The EU won’t be the first to put up such a proposal. Apple had previously come up with a similar idea a couple of years ago, but following the massive backlash, they essentially shelved that idea.

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Tyler Lee