The Council of Member States of the European Union has postponed the final vote on the regulation that provided for the establishment of the obligation automated scanning of the content of messages users’ private data by all messaging apps and commercial mail services. Chat Control 2.0 suffers a second major setback in the approval process which, according to the positions expressed by the various countries, could conceivably cause the entire procedure to fail.
The measure, which sees the Swedish Ylva Johansson as its main promoter, is opposed by hundreds of technicians and experts as well as by all the main associations dealing with freedom of expression, digital rights and privacy protection.
Europe seems to be taking the right path: the position of the countries that oppose Chat Control 2.0 prevails
While the United Kingdom, unfortunately, has just passed a law on online security which in fact requires developers of messaging apps to insert a government backdoor (the impact of the decision is unfortunately destined to have consequences far beyond the borders of the country of His Majesty Charles III…), Europe seems to have finally recovered on track, moving away from ideas that would put the Old Continent on the same level as the worst tyrannies.
Also because, on the basis of the provisions, with the (in itself indisputable) objective of repressing the spread of illicit material for the protection of minors, the messaging app they would have been called upon to forward photos and private messages to the European authorities, thus undermining the achievement of end-to-end encryption. Telegram had already declared that it did not want to comply while, for example, WhatsApp and Messenger (like many other platforms) would have come into compliance. Literally slapping the right to privacy of individual European citizens.
Tutanota toasts the European position and hopes for the definitive collapse of Chat Control 2.0
Along with ProtonMail, Tutanota is one of the most famous services that offer users the ability to send encrypted emails, making it impossible for any third party to monitor, modify and damage it. The ax of Chat Control 2.0 would also have fallen on these services and their users.
Thus Matthias Pfau, CEO and co-founder of Tutanota, celebrates the European “non-decision” by speaking of a clear signal that Chat Control 2.0 should be permanently shelved. For the sake of all.
In another article we named the countries that oppose Chat Control 2.0. Pfau recalls them one after the other: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Estonia and Slovenia. Me too’Europeas we highlighted in our article, has nevertheless expressed a position that winks at the “no” front.
In Germany, the jurists of the European Parliament had already concluded the following: “if the fundamental rights affected by the measures of the proposal are assessed, it can be established that the proposal would violate Articles 7 and 8 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as far as users are concerned“. In other words, the regulation dubbed Chat Control 2.0 is illegal precisely pursuant to European Union law.
At present and in the current formulation, it seems that Chat Control 2.0 cannot enjoy any type of majority support from member countries. This is not surprising since no other European Union law has been criticized as much as promoted by Johansson. In Europe the media talked about it very little, too little. And it’s bad because prescribing one by law mass scanning of personal communications of subjects who are not the recipients of any proceedings, is disproportionate and contrary to fundamental rights. It would have been front page news. Let us console ourselves with the fact that our country had in any case strongly criticized the current structure of the proposal.
Furthermore, according to Pfau, a long list of organizations and companies active in the field of solutions based onartificial intelligence, were lobbying for legislation like Chat Control 2.0. If what was stated by Tutanota and other well-known associations were true, it means that under the guise of protecting children, the lobby dell’IA would have tried to prepare the ground for multi-million dollar contracts.
Il right to privacy it is important and indispensable. And it certainly cannot be sacrificed to line the pockets of a few by introducing an infrastructure for mass surveillance unnecessarily.