Elon Musk-Backed Signal App, And Proton Slam EU's 'Upload Moderation' Proposal For Encrypted Chats: 'Mass Surveillance'

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The European Union is set to vote on a controversial proposal that could potentially undermine encryption by allowing the scanning of private communications for illegal content. This has been slammed by Elon Musk-backed Signal app, and encrypted email provider, Proton.

What Happened: The EU Council is scheduled to vote on the Chat Control proposal on Thursday. The proposal, which was initially set for a vote on Wednesday, has been met with criticism for its potential to compromise the privacy of online communications.

The proposal requires internet service providers to scan private chats, emails, social media messages, and photos for illegal content, such as child sexual abuse material, or CSAM.

To address the challenge of outlawing encryption, the proposal suggests “client-side scanning” or “upload moderation,” which involves analyzing content on users’ devices before it is encrypted and transmitted.

Signal’s CEO, Meredith Whittaker, has warned that this proposal would fundamentally undermine encryption and create a global vulnerability in core infrastructure. Whittaker, in an open letter, stated that the proposal was unworkable and dangerous.

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This has also been slammed by Proton as well, which is a provider of encrypted email and other services.

"Upload Moderation’ is a mass surveillance program. We urge EU governments to reject mass scanning of their citizens’ communications by voting against this proposal tomorrow."

Other legislative proposals, such as the US Earn-It Act and the UK Online Safety Act, also consider client-side scanning as a means to preempt the use of encryption.

See Also: Mark Zuckerberg Is Worth $179B Today, But 2 Decades Ago He Was Already Getting ‘A Couple of Marriage Prop

Why It Matters: The proposal to undermine encryption in the EU is not an isolated incident. Governments and tech companies have been at odds over the issue of encryption and online safety for some time.

In 2023, the UK urged Meta Platforms to prioritize child safety over encryption on its platforms. This came following the passage of the Online Safety Bill, which aimed to protect children from potential risks on social media.

Meanwhile, Apple has been battling the UK government’s proposed amendments to the Investigatory Powers Act, which could potentially “secretly veto” new security features worldwide.

Now, with the EU Council set to vote on a proposal that could undermine encryption, the debate over online safety, privacy, and the role of tech companies in ensuring both continues to intensify.

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Read Next: Elon Musk Echoes Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang’s Prediction About Humanoid Robots

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

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