The European Court of Human Rights has banned the weakening of end-to-end encryption of messages in messengers. The decision was made on February 13, EUReporter reports.

The day before, the European Commission and an industry surveillance network called for a general check of users’ personal messages to detect signs of illegal content, including pirated content. This would have meant that end-to-end encryption would have become less secure, but the European Court of Human Rights blocked these changes.

Although most EU governments have supported this initiative, weakening the security of end-to-end encryption would mean less security for the personal information of people whose sensitive data, messages, or photos could be targeted by hackers.

Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party), a member of the European Parliament and digital freedom activist, said that such checks on people’s communications are illegal. He also noted that instead of checking suspects, these changes would have an impact on the safety of everyone.

“Secure encryption saves lives. Without encryption, we can never be sure whether our messages or photos are being disclosed to people we don’t know and can’t trust. So-called ‘client-side scanning’ would either make our communications fundamentally insecure, or European citizens would no longer be able to use Whatsapp or Signal at all, because the providers have already contemplated that they would discontinue their services in Europe. It is a scandal that the EU Council’s latest draft position still envisages the destruction of secure encryption. We Pirates will now fight even harder for our digital privacy of correspondence!” said Breyer.

He argues that EU governments now have no choice but to remove the end-to-end encryption clause from their proposal. This is only the beginning of the negotiations, which are due to continue in early March.