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EU to vote on chat moderation bill that would effectively end encrypted messages

by xyonent
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The European Union, which has become increasingly meddling in the technology sector in recent years, is due to vote on Thursday on a proposal that would require messaging apps to scan users’ private communications.

The proposed new regulations are reminiscent of failed attempts by previous UK governments and (independently) Apple to introduce a system to scan for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in messages. Apple abandoned the plans after opposition from privacy advocates and messaging apps like WhatsApp, and the UK government also backed away from them.

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Future Chat Control Method The bill would require users of popular messaging apps like WhatsApp, Signal and iMessage to agree to new terms of use that would allow app developers to scan images and URLs in chats.

Unsurprisingly, app makers and privacy advocates have strongly opposed the plan, with Signal issuing a statement saying it would force communications to be passed through surveillance systems.

“Mandating mass scanning of private communications would fundamentally undermine encryption — or stop it altogether,” said Meredith Whitaker, president of the Signal Foundation. Hacker News).

“This can happen, for example, by tampering with the random number generation of encryption algorithms, or by implementing key escrow systems, or by passing communications through a monitoring system before they are encrypted.”

The EU guarantees that “detection technology must be used exclusively for the purpose of detecting child sexual abuse. Providers must deploy technology that is privacy-safe and in line with industry state-of-the-art, and that minimizes false positive rates as much as possible.”

Britain last fall backed off on a similar proposal to build privacy backdoors and weaken end-to-end encryption for conversations in an online safety bill, prompting WhatsApp and Signal to threaten to pull their apps from the UK market in response.

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