European Union Officials have delayed talks on proposed legislation that could result in messaging services having to scan images and links for potential child sexual abuse material (cup). If the proposal becomes law, it could require the likes of WhatsApp, Messenger and Signal to scan all photos users upload – which would essentially force them to break encryption.

For the measure to pass, it would need the support of at least 15 member states representing at least 65% of the bloc’s total population. However, countries including Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic were expected to abstain or oppose the plan due to cybersecurity and privacy concerns. Politico Reports. If EU members reach agreement on a common position, they will have to reach a final version of the law with the European Commission and the European Parliament.

It was legislation It was first proposed in 2022 This could result in messaging services having to scan all images and links in order to detect child sexual abuse material and communications between minors and potential criminals. Under this proposal, users will be informed of the link and scanned images in the terms and conditions of the services. If they refuse, they will be blocked from sharing links and images on those platforms. But as Politico He points out that the draft proposal includes an exception for “accounts used by the state for national security purposes.”

EU Council leaders are said to have been trying for six months to break the deadlock and move forward with negotiations to finalize the law. Belgium’s presidency of the Council is set to end on June 30, and it is not clear whether the incoming leadership will continue to prioritize the proposal.

Patrick Breyer, a digital rights activist who was a former member of the European Parliament before this month’s elections, did just that Argue Supporters of the so-called “chat control” plan aim to take advantage of the power vacuum before the formation of the next parliament. Breyer says the vote delay, caused in part by activists, “Must be celebrated” But he warned that “surveillance extremists among EU governments” may once again try to consolidate control over chat in the coming days.

Other critics and privacy advocates criticized the proposal. Signal Chief Meredith Whitaker He said in a statement Edward Snowden said that “massive scanning of private communications fundamentally undermines encryption.” Describe it As a “terrifying mass surveillance measure.”

On the other hand, proponents have suggested that breaking encryption would be acceptable in order to process child sexual abuse material. “The Commission has proposed the method or rule by which even encrypted messages can be broken in order to better protect children,” European Commission Vice-President for Values ​​and Transparency Vera Jourova said on Thursday. euronews.

The European Union is not the only entity attempting such a step. In 2021 Apple She revealed a plan To scan iCloud photos for known CSAM. However, it is canceled Which controversial The effort came after criticism from the likes of customers, advocacy groups and researchers.

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