We are among over 100 civil society and professional organisations that have signed a letter to uphold privacy, security and free expression
As we enter an ever more digitalised world, it is crucial that fundamental rights like freedom of speech and privacy are upheld. Yet the European Commission’s latest proposal, which claims to combat child sex abuse, comes with far wider digital rights concerns.
If it were to pass, then Europe’s traditionally sturdy stance on privacy and end-to-end encryption would cease to exist.
That is why we are standing against the proposal, and we are in good company. DiEM25 is among the more than 100 civil society and professional organisations that have signed a letter to uphold privacy, security and free expression by withdrawing the proposed new law.
Through this new proposal, the European Commission would make it permissible for private companies – particularly untrustworthy tech giants – to go through their servers and look for potentially abusive material. This leaves obvious room for wider abuses of privacy with access to all forms of communication, and is in direct opposition to current European law on encryption.
“It is not possible to have private and secure communications whilst building in direct access for governments and companies,” the letter reads. “This will also open the door for all types of malicious actors. It is not possible to have a safe internet infrastructure which promotes free expression and autonomy if internet users can be subjected to generalised scanning and filtering, and denied anonymity.”
“The proposed CSA Regulation has made a political decision to consider scanning and surveillance technologies safe despite widespread expert opinion to the contrary. If passed, this law will turn the internet into a space that is dangerous for everyone’s privacy, security and free expression.1 This includes the very children that this legislation aims to protect.
“These rules will make social media companies liable for the private messages shared by their users. It will force providers to use risky and inaccurate tools in order to be in control of what all of us are typing and sharing at all times. The Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal encourages companies to deploy Client-Side Scanning to surveil their users despite recognising that service providers will be reluctant to do so over security concerns. This would constitute an unprecedented attack on our rights to private communications and the presumption of innocence.”
In recent years, the EU has fought to be a beacon of the human rights to privacy and data protection, setting a global standard. But with the proposed CSA Regulation, the European Commission has signalled a U-turn towards authoritarianism, control, and the destruction of online freedom. This will set a dangerous precedent for mass surveillance around the world.
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