It is currently not possible to control messenger services such as WhatsApp or Signal. Such services are based on end-to-end encryption. In addition, they are covered by telecommunications secrecy: the messages and images sent by users are no longer allowed to be scanned by the manufacturers. Some manufacturers don’t like that, and the EU doesn’t like it. She now wants to change that and actually enforce the automatic control of chats and media content in the Internet networks by law. The EU interior commissioner responsible, Ylva Johansson, is currently working on a draft law.
The EU wants to automatically search chat histories and photos posted on all smartphones. There is also an official reason for this on the part of the EU. It is – for the time being – the fight against child abuse, and possibly also against terror. However, all of this is to be implemented by the providers of the chat programs. You should be obliged by law to use control software.
“Client Side Scanning”, or CSS for short, is the name of the monitoring technology used to control chat processes. It is currently the only technology in which encryption is maintained at the same time. Spicy: This technology is also used by authoritarian states to control dissidents or to persecute religious minorities. According to the EU surveillance attack, every smartphone will in future have a criminal scanner. Using artificial intelligence, illegal images sent by users are to be identified. This includes child pornography or the seduction of children by adults.
But experts doubt the chances of success of this measure in the fight against crime. Daniel Kretzschmar, spokesman for the federal executive committee of the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter, explains to the German daily newspaper “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, the focus will not be on suspects advised by investigations and on the other hand, incomprehensible selections of the reports also the companies are made. “
Thomas-Gabriel Rüdiger, head of the institute for cybercriminology at the University of Police in Brandenburg, doubts that the actual perpetrators will be caught this way. “They are aware of what they are doing and are resorting to alternatives. Presumably, USB sticks and other data carriers will then be used again. ” Mainly children and adolescents will be caught “sexting” when 13- and 14-year-olds send each other lewd pictures. The next problem: If someone sends a problematic picture in group chats and the participants have activated the automatic download, all participants can make themselves liable to prosecution. In addition, each country has different guidelines.
Pirate MEP Patrick Breyer warns the “world” of the plan, but emphasizes: “Anyone who thinks this is dangerous and counterproductive will be pushed into the corner of the protection of perpetrators.”