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Europe Proposes New Rules to Supervise Messaging Apps, WhatsApp et al Affected

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If they receive “order detection,” they will use artificial intelligence (AI) to observe images and text messages. Later, the order will be issued by a court or an independent national authority.

“The detection orders are time-limited and target certain types of content on certain services,” the European Commission said.

Detection technology should only be used to detect child sexual abuse. Provider platform should apply non-privacy-invading technology in accordance with the circumstances and limit errors.

It also states that app stores should ensure children are not able to download apps that could put them at high risk of abuse.

However, the proposal received criticism among experts. “This document is the scariest thing I have ever seen. It represents the most advanced mass surveillance machine ever deployed outside of China and the Soviet Union,” said Matthew Green, professor of cryptography at Johns Hopkins.

Experts warn introducing powers to European governments will make them available to other governments. “By legally mandating the construction of this surveillance system in Europe, European governments will eventually make this capability available to every government,” Green said.

Another privacy expert said the European Commission’s proposal was incompatible with end-to-end encryption principles and basic privacy rights. Joe Mullin, a senior policy analyst at digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the proposal was only aimed at reading and observing user messages on a large scale.

“If it becomes law, the proposal will be a disaster for user privacy. Not only in the European Union (EU) but all over the world,” he said.

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