While the European Union is considering a proposal to introduce scanning of private messages, Spain has advocated a complete ban on the use of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in them. This is reported by WebProNews.
The initiative arose against the background of a discussion of a bill that would force companies to scan content on their platforms for the presence of illegal material, especially child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The document is considered controversial and even warns of its illegality, so the bloc’s lawyers are talking about its possible cancellation at the court level.
With all that, Spain seems to want to take more aggressive measures. According to Wired, this is evidenced by a document with a position on the problem by 20 EU member states.
“Ideally, in our view, it would be desirable to legislatively prevent EU-based service providers from implementing end-to-end encryption,” Spanish representatives said in the document.
Such approaches have already been evaluated by representatives of the industry. For example, Riana Pfefferkorn, a research fellow at the Internet Observatory at Stanford University in California, is shocked by Spain’s claims that there should be legislation that prohibits EU service providers from using end-to-end encryption.
Instead, Iverna McGowan, the secretary general of the European branch of the Centre for Democracy and Technology, believes that cracking end-to-end encryption for everyone would be not only disproportionate, but also ineffective in achieving the goal of protecting children. Her opinion echoes the statements of German critics of the draft law.
Child protection is not served if the regulation later fails before the European Court of Justice,” said Felix Reda from the Society for Freedom Rights. “The damage to the privacy of all people would be immense ,“ he added. “The tamper-free surveillance violates the essence of the right to privacy and cannot therefore be justified by any fundamental rights assessment.”
According to Wired, 15 out of 20 countries are in favor of scanning E2EE messages for CSAM. Germany objects to the bill in its current form. Estonia also opposes it, and Finland warns that the document may conflict with the country’s constitution.
We will remind that in 2021 Apple announced its intentions to implement scanning users’ photos for child sexual abuse. It had to happen right on users’ devices. But in the end, the company abandoned this idea.