EU Council vote on CSAM proposal cancelled

20/06/2024 | Policito

The Council of the European Union has scheduled a vote for the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down rules to prevent and combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on Thursday 20 June 2024, according to The Register. The vote, originally scheduled for Wednesday, was moved.

Responding to the development, an open letter from Meredith Whittaker, President of the Signal Foundation, calls for legislators in Europe to listen to the experts on the matter and realise that: "There is no way to implement such proposals in the context of end-to-end encrypted communications without fundamentally undermining encryption and creating a dangerous vulnerability in core infrastructure that would have global implications well beyond Europe." 

Now called "upload moderation" rather than client-side scanning, Whittaker went on to say: "Instead of accepting this fundamental mathematical reality, some European countries continue to play rhetorical games." 

A related interview in The Guardian provides more context around Whittaker's background at Google, where she worked on the ethical deployment of artificial intelligence before sharing an internal note saying, "It's clear Google isn't a place where I can continue this work." Whittaker left to pursue her goal of an "accountable tech industry."

Then, on Thursday, Politico reported that the EU had withdrawn the planned vote on the controversial CSAM proposal. The vote that was scheduled to amend a draft law that could have potentially required messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal to scan images and links for possible child sexual abuse material has been taken off the agenda by member states. Several EU countries, including Germany, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, were anticipated to either abstain or oppose the law due to concerns regarding breaking encryption and privacy.

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Children, unhappy face, CSAM

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