Proposed European Union Legislation Would Require the Scanning of Private Messages

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Privacy advocates expressed concern over the implications of the proposed legislation to combat the dissemination of child sex abuse material and grooming content. Representatives of the European Commission assert that “Detection orders are limited in time, targeting a specific type of content on a specific service.” The law would also direct app stores to prevent children from downloading apps which were at high risk for solicitation.

Professor of cryptography at Johns Hopkins, Matthew Green warned, “By legally mandating the construction of these surveillance systems in Europe, the European government will ultimately make these capabilities available to every government.”Technology leaders have also pushed back against the EU plans. Will Cathcart of WhatsApp expressed disappointment in the failure to protect end-to-end encryption. Apple has indefinitely delayed its plans to introduce new message scanning measures. 

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