Call for protest or resistance against the EU chat control Stop Chat Control


Wait a second. Chat control? What is that and why should we as autonomists and anti-authoritarians be interested in it at all?

Rally of June 14, 2023 on the occasion of the conference of interior ministers in Berlin against chat control to save the secrecy of correspondence.
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Rally of June 14, 2023 on the occasion of the conference of interior ministers in Berlin against chat control to save the secrecy of correspondence. Foto: C.Suthorn - (CC-BY-SA 4.0 cropped)

21. Oktober 2023
6 min.
Chat control is officially the EU regulation for the prevention and fight against sexual abuse of children, a current project of the European Union, which is postponed for now, but could possibly be decided soon.

This law is a pretty foul thing for several reasons: With the chat control it is supposed to be made possible for state authorities to automatically scan, evaluate and read the contents of private online communication of all users. This is to happen either via an obligation of chat providers such as Signal, Threema, Telegram, Skype, etc. Or via the so-called "Client Side Scanning". In this case, messages and images would even be read directly from the end devices or the storage of the users. And this would happen even before they are sent encrypted or after they have been received in decrypted form.

This is exactly what the EU wants to achieve with chat control - to make encrypted communication useless. Secret services, ministries of the interior, police authorities and the corporations and profiteers of surveillance-capitalism don't want people to be able communicate in encrypted form, anonymously, without being read.

Encrypted communication is very important. It can protect activists, opposition members and minorities from state repression. It can protect sources of news and knowledge and whistleblowers, and it can also make it more difficult for cocerns to collect our data.

As if the intended ban or weakening of encryption wasn't bad enough, chat control is of course to be joined by a few other things that worry us a lot. For example, the introduction of website blocking that is also under discussion. Even worse than that could be the obligation for age verification and thus identification obligations on the net. That too is specifically part of the plan of a EU chat control. It would mean that access to certain websites, age-restricted content, the use of certain apps such as messengers and their downloads would only be possible with identification, for example via an electronic ID or digital identity.

This would, of course, fulfill an old dream of interior ministers and similar authoritarians. For a long time already, they have had clear-name obligations on the Internet and the disabling of VPNs, TOR and other anonymity-friendly services on their wish list. The joy of large corporations to be able to clearly assign users in the future should not be disregarded here. The EU is always at their service. As is the government in Germany - above all Nancy Faser, who should attract more negative attention with her right-wing populist policies.

The "chat control" is also not at all the first, but a new and wide-ranging attempt to enforce mass surveillance and complete deanonymization of the Internet. And it unfortunately has great chances of success, because the EU Commission and the majority of the Parliament, as well as the Council and the governments and interior ministries of the entire member states are working towards it. They even want tightening, like extending it to scans of our audio messages instead of "just" text chats.

There are also so-called "compromise proposals" in the manipulative discourse, with which the authoritarian states would like to change the critics' minds. But only the type of material that providers can search for is to be restricted for a start - until the technical possibilities have changed. The surveillcance of encryption is still to come then. It is obvious that this is just an attempt to hide the problems.

The whole thing is justified very specious as we should be used to! We know the deal: "fight against terror", "pirate copies", drugs, weapons and so on are often constructed by politics as arguments to get acceptance for authoritarian plans and to discredit resistance against it in the public.This time with the chat control it's not different. This time, the EU has even opted for a classic: the supposed "protection of children and young people" and the fight against pornographic material by minors. Who would want to be against that?

Even experts, including those from the Kinderschutzbund (Child Protection Association in Germany), say that chat control does not protect children and young people at all. After all, it will also monitor their confidential communications.

For example, the project could even lead to employees of public authorities gaining access to nude pictures and confidential data that minors send to each other ... And then they can do all kinds of things with them. There's also a risk of false positives from AI.People could get into big trouble with it because of a technical error. But the EU is not interested, because child protection is not the issue here.

The areas have already been expanded in the meantime....Drugs, migration etc ...Everything belongs to be strictly monitored.What will come next? Application against, as such framed, political extremists?

And then there is the very probable matter of "purpose extension". We already know enough of this from other laws and state measures. They are often introduced because of some urgent matter. And then they are constantly extended, defered and can suddenly be used for completely different purposes by cops and secret services at their whim. Extending chat control accordingly lends itself to this. The first demands have already been made.

In a Europe in which: there are bans on demonstrations and preventive detention, house searches because of "dick" comments and links to the Website "Linksunten/Indymedia or Graffiti, in which secret service investigations are carried out because of ad busting in the German Military or searches for people because of "illegal residence" are commonplace, in a Europe in which ultra-conservatives in positions of power, call for abortion bans and the fight against queer and refugee people, in which there are right-wing radical structures in offices and authorities as well as the police, in this Europe a surveillance infrastructure like that of chat control with encryption bans and the state reading on any devices has serious consequences for the freedom of all people.

Similar legislation and developments, biometric mass surveillance, use of AI's in this regard for example in Hamburg, digital identities, scoring, predictive policing, and so on are in planning or have long been a reality.... all this together creates a total, centralized, panoptic infrastructure with which enormous power and repression can be exercised against us all.

As anti-authoritarians we should resist against it, create attention and make the whole thing known as a topic outside of German-speaking net activists!

We therefore call for protest or resistance against the EU chat control. Previous alliances such as the German"ChatkontrolleStoppen" could be wonderfully supplemented with autonomous criticism. Other protest actions could be thought up, there should be no limits to creativity here. Which goals of such protest actions would be, could perhaps result from the topic......Antiauthoritarians resist against chat control! Resist against state controll!

Gruppe Autonomie und Solidarität