EU Trying to Bring in ‘Mass Surveillance’ with Proposed Chat Control Law – MEP

EU commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson gives a press conference on the EU Action

A senior MEP within the European Parliament has accused the EU of trying to bring in “mass surveillance” with a new law controlling private online chats.

Dr Nicolaus Fest MEP, the leader of the populist Alternative für Deutschland party within the European Parliament, has accused the European Union of trying to implement a regime of “mass surveillance” with a law that would mandate that private chats be monitored online.

Championed by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, the proposed measure would oblige Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to proactively detect, report and remove illegal materials, as well as actively monitor private messaging sent by users, encrypted or otherwise.

While the proposals have been billed as laudably tackling the serious problem of child abuse, widespread monitoring of private conversations between European citizens comes with obvious consequences. Dr Fest, for his part, says the EU under the banner of child protection is creating a system of “mass surveillance” within the bloc.

To make matters worse, the MEP believes that such measures will not even serve to help children, with child predators allegedly using methods of communication that will not be affected by the proposed legislation.

“Under the guise of combating child pornography, mass surveillance is to be introduced that misses the actual goal, because perpetrators do not use the usual messenger services and social media for their criminal offences and crimes in the context of child pornography, but the Darknet,” Dr Fest said in a statement sent to Breitbart Europe.

“Exposing people to general suspicion through chat control is tantamount to blowing up digital postal secrecy and is incompatible with the principles of a free society,” he continued. “Child pornography must be combated through prevention, targeted criminal prosecution, debating early sexualization and harsher penalties, not through a surveillance state.”

Dr Fest is far from the first person to criticise the measures, with the legislation proposed by Johansson being widely critiqued by representatives throughout the bloc.

“Chat control is a breach of several fundamental rights. Not only the right to free expression, but also the right to privacy,” another MEP, Tom Vandendriessche of Flemish party Vlaams Belang previously told Breitbart, saying that the measure represented “[y]et another example of how the EU Commission is trying to spy on citizens, suppress civil rights and disenfranchise ordinary citizens.”

Meanwhile, an official from the digital advocacy group European Digital Rights (EDRi) described the measures as “shameful”, describing the proposal as a “general surveillance law entirely unfitting for any free democracy”.

However, despite this widespread criticism, Johansson and her Home Affairs department have pushed ahead with the legislation, with officials expressing a desire to see the legislation become reality at the end of Summer next year.

“The EU’s goal is to make this law a reality by August 2024,” a press release late last year from the EU read, before warning that should the new proposal not be passed, existing legislation already in place will lapse, allegedly making it easier for predators to abuse children.

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