Disputed surveillance sawn by EU lawyers

Disputed surveillance sawn by EU lawyers

Published: Less than 20 min ago

full screen A woman demonstrates in Paris 2021 against sexual abuse of children. New rules to combat online abuse have been proposed in the EU, but are criticized as going too far. Stock photo. Photo: Christopher Ena/AP/TT

Make a u-turn now!

The call to EU countries comes from online activists since the proposal to combat sexual child abuse is now also being seen by the Council of Ministers’ own lawyers.

The EU Commission’s proposal on how internet giants and platforms should act against abuse material online has been hotly debated since the Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson presented it last spring.

Opponents have dubbed the proposal “chat control” and accuse it of being far too watchful in its zeal to find perpetrators.

They now also get some support from the legal service in the EU’s Council of Ministers, which reviewed the proposal and warns that it could probably be ruled by the EU’s court if it becomes reality, as it looks right now.

Clear criteria

Among other things, the judicial service wants to see clearer criteria for which technology is to be used, when someone is to be examined and on what grounds.

“The system should be targeted in such a way that it applies to people where there are reasonable grounds to believe that they are in some way involved in, carry out or have carried out sexual child abuse, or at least have an indirect connection to abuse”, it says among other in a leaked statement from the legal service.


German pirate party and EU Member of Parliament Patrick Breyer now hopes that Sweden, as the country holding the presidency of the EU’s Council of Ministers, will ensure that “immediately remove the general chat control” from the bill.

“I urge the EU countries to make a U-turn and stop the dystopian China-like chat control plans. No one helps children with rules that are inevitably struck down by the EU’s court,” writes Breyer in a press release.


EU CSAM proposal

CSAM is the abbreviation for child sexual abuse material.

To combat online sexual abuse, the European Commission proposed new legislation in May 2022 that makes it mandatory for online service providers to carry out risk assessments to ascertain the risk of being exploited by perpetrators.

National authorities can then order a review of the online services and order removal.

A dedicated EU centre, linked to Europol, is proposed to play a key role in helping businesses, authorities and victims alike.

The proposal is currently being processed in parallel by the member states in the Council of Ministers and the EU Parliament.

Read more