📆 July 30, 2022 | ⏱️ 2 minute read | 🏷️ computing

[Website] Chat Control

The EU wants to indiscriminately scan all EU citizens’ private chats, emails, and messages without a warrant. As always, the EU has chosen one of the four horsemen of the infopocalypse, pedophiles, as their stated reason for indiscriminately violating innocent people’s right to privacy. The EU basically wants to make private digital communication impossible.

This is clearly a case of the remedy being worse than the problem. The increased surveillance will do much more harm than good. As the Chat Control website created by Pirate Party member and German digital rights activist Patrick Breyer points out, there are more effective approaches to combating child pornography which don’t harm the privacy of every innocent person and target teenagers for harmless sexting.

Some better ideas are to teach digital literacy to children, teens, and adolescents, provide hotlines, counseling centers, mandate reporting mechanisms for online services, prevent such images and recordings from taking place, redirect police efforts to more effective means of catching pedophiles than reading automated reports, and explore ways to prevent pedophiles from offending.

While it’s socially important for people to understand the value of privacy for freedom and democracy, the problem of mass surveillance also has to be addressed on a technical level. For the privacy of our devices, it needs to become the norm for all phones, laptops, servers, etc to ship with free hardware and free software only.

Also, the outdated network stack must be replaced with one created with freedom and privacy in mind from the very start, such as GNUnet. That would go a long way in making measures like Chat Control unenforceable, even if passed.