EU chat control law proposes scanning your messages — even encrypted ones

The EU's proposed chat control law aims to scan all digital messages, including encrypted ones, to combat CSAM, raising privacy and security concerns.

: The EU is moving closer to passing a law that mandates scanning all digital messages to combat child sexual abuse material. This includes scanning encrypted messages before they are encrypted. Privacy advocates and some members of Parliament are opposing the proposal, citing fundamental rights to privacy and risks of exploitation.

The EU is nearing the adoption of a proposed chat control law that would mandate the bulk scanning of digital messages, including those that are encrypted. Aimed at detecting child sexual abuse material, the legislation would require services to install monitoring technology that scans all shared content, which has raised significant privacy concerns.

Despite acknowledging the role of end-to-end encryption in protecting fundamental rights, the proposal suggests scanning messages before they are encrypted by apps like Signal, WhatsApp, and Messenger. This approach has led to criticism, with Signal’s president warning that it undermines encryption and introduces vulnerabilities exploitable by hackers and hostile entities.

Privacy organizations and several European Parliament members have expressed strong opposition, arguing that the proposal violates the right to private correspondence and may not withstand legal scrutiny. Moreover, surveys indicate that most young people in the EU oppose such surveillance measures, and critics argue that effective and legally robust solutions are needed to genuinely protect children and abuse victims.