Orwellian Chat Control Must Be Stopped – Now!

Chat Control Must Be Stopped – Now!

June 17, 2024 · Deutsche Version

Chat Control Must Be Stopped – Now!

With its legislative proposal known as “Chat Control,” the EU Commission is trying to establish an unprecedented mass-surveillance apparatus of Orwellian proportions in the European Union.

If EU citizens don’t stand up for privacy now, it may be too late.

This Wednesday, June 19, 2024, the EU Council could be voting on the controversial Chat Control bill.

Should it pass, the consequences would be devastating: Under the pretext of child protection, EU citizens would no longer be able to communicate in a safe and private manner on the Internet. The European market’s location advantage would suffer a massive hit due to a substantial decrease in data security. And EU professionals like lawyers, journalists, and physicians could no longer uphold their duty to confidentiality online. All while children wouldn’t be better protected in the least bit. On the contrary, Chat Control could have a negative impact on minors in particular.

What is Chat Control?

It doesn’t matter how the EU Commission is trying to sell it – as “client-side scanning,” “upload moderation,” or “AI detection” –, Chat Control is still mass surveillance. And regardless of its technical implementation, mass surveillance is always an incredibly bad idea, for a whole plethora of reasons. Here are just three:

1. Mass Surveillance is a Totalitarian Tool Incompatible with Democracy

2. Mass Surveillance Is Ineffective

3. Mass Surveillance Undermines Data Security

Of course, sharing CSAM is an absolutely intolerable, horrific crime that must be punished. Before CSAM can be shared online, however, a child must have suffered abuse in real life, which is what effective child protection should be trying to prevent (and what Chat Control does not focus on). For this and many other reasons, child protection organizations such as Germany’s Federal Child Protection Association are against Chat Control, arguing that it’s “neither proportionate nor effective.”

Besides, there’s no way of really knowing whether Chat Control would actually be (or remain) limited to CSAM. Once the mass-surveillance apparatus is installed, it could easily be extended to detect content other than CSAM without anyone noticing it. From a service provider’s point of view, the detection mechanism, which is created and maintained by third parties, essentially behaves like a black box.

What can you do?

Since the matter may be decided this Wednesday, June 19, 2024, time is a critical factor. If you’re a EU citizen, please consider contacting your government’s representative today, asking them to vote against Chat Control.

It may also help to take to the digital streets, spread the word online, and raise awareness for the EU’s dubious plan to establish an unprecedented mass-surveillance apparatus that would essentially nullify the right to data privacy and set a highly dangerous precedent in doing so.

What would Chat Control mean for Threema users in the EU?

While Threema would be subject to Chat Control, the business solution Threema Work would be out of scope according to our current knowledge. It’s still not entirely clear how Chat Control would have to be implemented by service providers, and it’s questionable whether such a blatant violation of the right to privacy would hold up in European courts.

What is crystal clear, however, is that there will never be a Threema version that’s spying on its users in any way, shape, or form. The reason Threema was created is to provide a highly secure, completely private, and anonymous means of communication. Once it’s no longer possible to offer such a service in the European Union, we will be forced to take consequences.

We will carefully consider all options (including legal actions, technical workarounds, etc.) first, and if we come to the conclusion that there’s no other way, we’ll call on fellow communication services to join us in leaving the EU.