Controlling private chats in Europe: FSF wants to stop the regulation

We have nothing to hide, we have everything to protect“. This is the incipit of a tough stance by Free Software Foundation (FSF) against legislation that could soon come into force in Europe. In the viewfinder is the provision that aims at control of private chatsknown as Chat Control 2.0, against which people who deal with privacy protection online, software developers that integrate end-to-end encryption, companies that offer tools to protect browsing sessions and that integrate chat features into their apps.

Among the potentially most dangerous profiles is that linked to the obligation on the part of all managers to messaging solutions, to scan the content of individual users’ private chats. Such a measure undermines the foundations of the crittografia end-to-end: the automated analysis of the contents of the messages locally and the eventual transmission to the persons in charge of the control appears as an unsustainable interference in the private sphere of each individual.

FSF recommends taking action and protesting the control of chats

FSF is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 by Richard Stallman. The main objective of the FSF is to promote the freedom of users to use, study, copy, modify and distribute the software. The FSF is a digital rights advocacy organization dedicated to supporting the free software It’s open. In addition to promoting free software licenses, the FSF is also committed to defending free software user rights and in the fight against digital restrictions, such as DRM (Digital Rights Management).

In its lengthy post, the FSF notes that it is more important than ever today to let government representatives know that end-to-end encryption is and remains vital. A precious measure that must be kept and about which it is not possible to compromise.

Write a message to the appropriate agencies to let them know that you value privacy and that you have a duty to protect it“, observe the managers of FSF, also presenting a series of email templates that may need to be adapted.

FSF points out that the European chat control law is not the only one pending approval. And he cites similar provisions in the Western world: for example EARN IT Act in the United States and the so-called “Online safety bill” of the United Kingdom.

Apple recognized the problem with client-side content scanning technologies. Now Europe is called to do the same

Generalized tracking practices can threaten the right to privacy and data protection. In 2021, Apple had tried to enable scanning of the content of iOS, iPadOS and macOS devices. Users and experts from all over the world rejected that attempt without appeal, arguing that it risked creating a dangerous precedent. In fact, Apple devices would have turned into a new tool for the invasive surveillance. After the “bandage of whistles”, the Apple decided to desist. And this although the ends were absolutely noble.

Today, Europe runs the risk of giving the go-ahead to a provision that threatens to crush the rights of individuals, questioning the importance of the right to privacy on which, over the last few decades, much has been invested.

The European Commission is urged to ensure that any obligations imposed are truly proportionate, strictly targeted and protect the sanctity of privacy and private communications as a fundamental principle of all democratic societies. The legislator is asked to reconsider the proposed technical solutions, due to their own significant impacts and deeply negatives on current encryption and steganography solutions.

Finally, the European Commission is urged to recognize the critical importance of encryption in protecting the privacy of individuals, entities and governments. And not only today but also in the era post quantum. We talked about cryptography having to resist attacks from quantum computers.


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