EP vice-president slams ePrivacy derogation

The derogation enables surveillance of online messages allegedly containing material depicting child sex abuse. However, according to Czech MEP, the new law will violate citizens’ privacy because it is not technically possible to scan “criminals only”. [European Parliament]

The ePrivacy derogation adopted by the European Parliament on Tuesday has prompted a heated reaction from EP Vice-president Marcel Kolaja (Pirates, Greens/EFA).

The derogation enables surveillance of online messages allegedly containing material depicting child sex abuse. However, according to Czech MEP, the new law will violate citizens’ privacy because it is not technically possible to scan “criminals only.”

“All our personal electronic messages will be monitored to check whether they do not contain suspicious content. It is unacceptable,” Kolaja said in reaction to EU’s lawmakers’ vote.

According to Kolaja, it is necessary to protect children, but mass surveillance through private messages scanning is not the proper solution, saying it could affect many citizens. The adopted derogation is “a big blow to our digital privacy,” Kolaja said.

The EP vice president recalled a YouGov opinion poll published in March 2021 in which 72% of European citizens opposed the idea of general monitoring of their messages. European Pirates fought against derogation in a campaign called #Chatcontrol. As EURACTIV.cz learnt, the European Pirate Party wants to take legal action against the adopted derogation.

The European Commission has already announced that it will come up before the end of the year with a follow up-regulation to tackle child sexual abuse.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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