EU wants to force WhatsApp and Co. to spy on your smartphones

EU wants to force WhatsApp and Co. to spy on your smartphones

A law aims to force messengers such as WhatsApp, Signal and others at EU level to scan users' content for illegal items directly on their smartphones. Fierce opposition initially postponed an initial presentation of the draft. But the plans are not off the table.

EU wants to monitor all smartphone users by law

If the EU has its way, messengers such as WhatsApp, Signal, Threema or Telegram should be forced by law to search through pictures and chat histories of their users . Since end-to-end encryption is becoming more and more widespread, extra software should be used for this, which examines the data directly on your smartphone. The plans are highly controversial (source: Welt).

The aim is to improve the fight against crime. The primary aim is to combat the spread of child abuse and pornographic content. The fight against terrorism is also on the agenda - without a doubt correct goals, which the EU wants to regulate with permanent legislation. However, the choice of means is controversial.

There is talk of a technology that would be based on the Client Side Scanning (CSS) proposed by Apple. Means: In order not to violate the end-to-end encryption, a program checks the content directly on the smartphone before it is sent. It is not yet clear what the actual technical implementation will look like. For consumers, however, the effect is identical anyway.

All messages as well as images and videos that you send would be scanned via AI. The companies behind WhatsApp and Co. should inform the authorities of criminal content , according to the basic idea pursued by EU Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson.

Data protection activists are likely to run a storm, but police representatives are also critical of the planned procedure, according to Welt: "An automated scan for incriminated content by private companies and a reporting obligation that is very difficult to control by security authorities carries the risk that on the one hand unsuspecting people will become the focus of investigations and on the other hand, incomprehensible selections of reports are made by the companies, "said Daniel Kretzschmar, spokesman for the federal executive committee of the Association of German Criminal Investigators.

All messengers would be affected by the planned change in the law, both WhatsApp and the alternatives that we present in the video :

Plans for WhatsApp, Signal and Co. are nowhere near

The probability that the wrong people will be hit in the first place is also high, says Thomas-Gabriel RĂ¼diger, head of the Institute for Cybercriminology at the University of Police in Brandenburg. Criminals are aware of what they are doing and resort to alternatives, while innocent people can often be falsely targeted.

The plans have already faced headwinds in the EU. The bill was originally due to be presented on December 1st. This date has now been canceled, those responsible want to improve. It is questionable whether this will change the fundamental problem - namely the general suspicion against all smartphone users . In the spring, similar plans came under fire in Germany: WhatsApp and Co. should be obliged to save the names and addresses of their users.

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