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E-Mail or Messaging Users: Guilty of Child Sex Abuse Until Proven Innocent

There seemed to be a fair amount of pushback lately against such privacy violations and treating everyone as criminals in general, including by powerful enough forces to make authorities think twice about pushing forward, but it seems that method two still works, since the European Parliament approved by a large majority the proposal to allow the scanning of all private messages for child sex abuse. Worse, while at the moment this only allows such scanning, the next step is to make it mandatory, and that seems set to happen within months. Even the European Data Protection Supervisor and the Council of Europe expressed concerns, but the vast majority of MEPs didn’t even care about that.
Sure, the major providers already scan messages for advertising purposes, which is a practice that also needs to stop, but encrypted ones are a different matter, it’s not something mandated, and soon required, by the highest authorities, some formal efforts actually being made to push back against it, and something flagged, often in error, by such a scan doesn’t carry legal consequences. So this is entirely different, it means that any expectation that private messages will continue to be, well, private must be thrown away, that people will be even more likely to get in a whole world of trouble because of errors of automated systems, that those tasked with dealing with the real cases of abuse will be even more overworked, needing to go through endless piles of irrelevant messages, and that, once methods to get around encryption will be implemented, it’ll only be a matter of time, and usually a short amount of time, before criminals and other shady actors will exploit them. And it marks another step, a very clear and firm one, down the slippery slope towards the “Big Brother” state.
Now it remains to be seen what the court challenge, if there will indeed be one, will result in, how big the backlash from the public, organizations and maybe also some companies from the field will be and what, if any, effects that will have, and what comes next, but at this point all signs point in an awful direction. So keep an eye on the campaign site if you’re in any way interested, in the cause but also in your own personal digital life and not being treated as a criminal by default, or even possibly getting in an entire world of trouble over nothing…


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