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According to a leaked EU document, Spain wants to limit the privacy of WhatsApp or Telegram messages

“In our view, it would be ideal to prevent EU-based service providers from using end-to-end encryption by law.” That’s Spain’s position, outlined in a confidential EU document assessing member states on a new regulation to prosecute online pedophilia being negotiated in Brussels. The text was published by the American media Wired And it shows that the Spanish executive is the clearest in its drive to end end-to-end encryption, one of the most important methods of securing digital communications.

The authorship of the text corresponds to the Ministry of Internal Affairs. In the document, the department itself, led by Fernando Grande-Marlasca, admits that weakening end-to-end encryption would be “very controversial” and that it could clash with other regulations that protect Europeans’ rights. Internal affairs sources contacted in this way emphasized that “any surveillance of communications, both in Spain and within the European Union, can only be carried out with a court order.”

Spain’s response to encryption comes ahead of a European Council consultation on the extent to which it should be possible to circumvent these protections for digital communications in pedophilia investigations. Brussels is considering the possibility of forcing services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal or social networks to open so-called “back doors” that allow authorities to collect data from private conversations.

The regulation has been heavily criticized by digital rights groups. “With the worthy intention of preventing the spread of illegal content, there is a direct threat to the privacy of communications, as companies such as WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram or Signal will be forced to create security holes and those who use them will refuse. Encrypting communications,” denied Diego Naranjo, head of public policy at the European Digital Rights NGO (EDRI), in a conversation with

The regulation is officially called the “Regulations to Prevent and Combat Sexual Abuse of Minors,” although these organizations call it “ChatControl” because of the power it allows authorities to monitor digital conversations. The standard speaker is Javier Zarzalejos, PP MP and director of the FAES Foundation, chaired by José María Aznár.

The regulation will be one of the most controversial to be approved during Spain’s EU presidency, giving the government a very important role in the final steps of the negotiations.

“Police and the judiciary must have the tools they need to continue to meet their legal obligations now that many criminals have moved into the virtual world,” the leaked Home Office document said: “It is essential that we have access to data – which needs to be retained – and equally It is necessary that we have the ability to analyze them, no matter how large their volume. This is our obligation, it is not an option: we must have the necessary technical, human, innovative and training resources.”

Communications Control Center

Decryption aims to discover metadata patterns derived from citizens’ conversations. In its temporary clauses, the rule does not seek to directly allow access to the content of chats, but to know who spoke to whom and when. The “scanning” that digital platforms must perform to deliver results to Europol.

The fact that the content of the chats cannot be accessed gives the advocates of the standard an argument that encryption does not harm. “Encryption is preserved. The technology used is incredibly reliable and works just as well as detecting spam. [correo no deseado]. According to some indicators, algorithms detect cases. There is no access to the content of the communication and they act as classifiers,” Zarzalekhos claims. Country.

The dual purpose of maintaining encryption while creating a metadata database of all citizens’ conversations makes critics of the rule doubt that Brussels negotiators really understand what they are asking for. “Promoters do not understand their own law and its possible consequences,” they warn in a joint statement released this Monday by the hacktivist organizations Xnet, Éticas, Interferencias, Guifi, Political Watch, The Commoners and Digital Fems. “It was as if he was thinking about banning the roads so that there would be no traffic accidents.

“What is proposed is that AI scans all communications, especially sexually explicit material, even between adults, in a general and indiscriminate way to detect child sexual abuse material,” these organizations summarize: “This means that private photos and intimate conversations can . be collected and stored, which is an unprecedented breach of privacy. “ChatControl will create a huge amount of confidential information that will be in the hands of private companies and the EU, regardless of the state of their democracy, potential information leaks, cyber attacks or information being used against people,” they add.

Approval of the standard is not inevitable. At the moment, the European Parliament is establishing a common position for negotiations with the European Commission and the Council. The Council is also on the same point and is collecting the assessment of various governments on the new regulation. It is in this context that Spain’s position in favor of a complete ban on end-to-end encryption was leaked.

Source: El Diario





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