MEP Nicolaus Fest, leader of Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland party, has strongly denounced the European Union’s proposed law mandating the monitoring of private online conversations. The legislation, championed by EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, would require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to detect, report and remove illegal materials – even those sent via encrypted messages – and keep a watchful eye on all private communiques.
Though this measure has been cast as a necessary step towards combatting child abuse, there are needless implications of mass surveillance across the bloc. Fest argues that it won’t even help protect children, given that offenders typically use undetectable methods. Further, representatives from Digital advocacy group European Digital Rights have described the proposals as “shameful,” claiming they constitute a general surveillance law incompatible with the values of a free democracy.
Pushing against fiercely vocal opposition, Johansson is determined to make this bill a reality before Summer 2021. Will she succeed in her mission to monitor private chats – or will the people push back? Only time will tell.