Civil rights

Preserve ePrivacy, Protect Children's Rights – Stop #ChatControl

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Members of the European Parliament
626 Supporters
63% achieved 1.000 for collection target
  1. Launched 30/06/2021
  2. Time remaining > 5 months
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We have sent the following letter to all members of the EU Parliament to prevent the adoption of the “ePrivacy Derogation”. This provides that chat messages, video chats and emails will be searched automatically and without any reason for indications of pedosexual content.

This not only violates Articles 7 and 8 of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. In our letter, we also explain why the measure is completely unsuitable for combating child abuse and would cause enormous damage to our society. Because, as much as one might hope, an AI is not a miracle machine that can be used to cut down on time-consuming police work.

The first stage of this law, which allows voluntary searches by providers, is to be passed in the European Parliament as early as July 7 / 8, 2020. Later, a reinforcement will ensure that mass surveillance becomes mandatory.

If you want to support our cause, please become a co-signatory of this important letter today!

(See below ...)


ePrivacy Derogation – children’s rights vs EU fundamental rights?

Dear Members of the European Parliament,

Would you be comfortable with the thought that all your letters are being opened on the off chance that they might contain suspicious material? If not, please transfer this conviction to the digital sphere and vote against the abolishment of digital privacy for correspondence as part of the ePrivacy Derogation!

The so-called “e-Privacy Interim Regulation” (2020/0259(COD)) would require online messenger and email service providers to automatically scan private message content in real time for suspicious text and image content using error-prone artificial intelligence. All suspicious cases identified by AI would be automatically disclosed to investigative authorities in the EU – without the individuals concerned knowing about it. This is intended to counter the spread of child pornography on the internet.

We, of course, share the sentiment behind the initiative: children’s rights are a serious matter for which we as a foundation have been campaigning for years. But however well-intentioned it might be, this should not obscure the fatal impacts of the planned remedy:

  • The digital privacy of correspondence would effectively be abolished. All communication content would be indiscriminately captured and searched on a massive scale. Self-censorship would immediately become the norm. Legal opinions have shown that such a mass and suspicion-independent screening of private communication content is not compatible with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
  • Baseless suspicions would become the rule. According to the Swiss Federal Office of Police (fedpol), the error rate for automatic message screening is around 86%! For example, harmless holiday snaps or intimate selfies made by young people would lead to private message content being automatically disclosed and the launch of police investigations. More than one third of criminal investigations are already directed against minors.
  • Criminals are already finding ways to circumvent surveillance. When privacy is a crime, only criminals have privacy.
  • A surveillance infrastructure would be created, which – as we know all too well from experience – would eventually be extended to other areas (“mission creep”). Sooner or later, under the pretext of fighting terror, crime or even the threat of losing power, governments would be tempted to use this tool in other ways.
  • Experience has shown: Leaks, hacks, fails and abuse are inevitable. Collections of potential blackmail material would be created. In the past, cases have come to light where employees from investigative authorities and NGOs have themselves been secretly spreading child pornography. This would therefore often achieve the very opposite of what is wanted – the protection of children and fundamental rights.
  • Most acts of violence against children happen in secret and are not documented electronically. Prevention is what’s needed. A false “sense of security” helps no one. Targeted and effective law enforcement methods should not be cut back, but expanded.
  • Many victims of child abuse and leading providers are strongly opposed to universal search measures – as are 72% of EU citizens. Scanning all private messages is no substitute for solid police work and concrete help for victims of sexual violence. A representative survey in ten EU Member States has shown that 72% of respondents are clearly opposed to automated searches of private messages.

Please, don’t get us wrong here: crimes against children are terrible and demand decisive action! But warrantless surveillance of our communications is totally inappropriate and creates a climate of mistrust in Europe.

We therefore urge you to oppose the bill when it comes before Parliament on July 7 and 8!

Kind regards,

Dr. phil. Dr. h.c. Michael Schmidt-Salomon, Spokesman of the Board of the gbs

Peder Iblher, gbs Rapporteur on digital basic rights

PS: For more background information please visit our website

Thank you for your support, gbs, Peder Iblher from Oberwesel
Question to the initiator

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  • The ePrivacy derogation was passed this week, as expected, with an 80% majority in the EU Parliament.

    Meanwhile, our objection was heard. Patrick Breyer held up our open letter to the camera during his speech and made visible that e-privacy is just like postal secrecy. Members of the Greens and the Left also spoke out clearly against the proposal, while among the Social Democrats the field is mixed.

    For a good reason we ask you to continue to promote this signature list:
    In this fall, the case will go into the second round!

    Because then the obligatory version of this regulation is on the agenda. What up to now MAY be done on a voluntary basis by some providers (like Microsoft Teams, Google etc.), will then become a MUST for all relevant... further

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Why people sign

  • Ag

    2 days ago

    Het is nogal voor de hand dat het niet normaal is dat je iemands privé berichten mag lezen. Je kunt alle privacy grenzen over schrijden in de naam van het bestrijden van criminaliteit. Je zou cameras verplicht in mensen hun huizen kunnen plaatsen, chips implanteren om in de gaten te houden waar iemand zich bevind, vast leggen wat iemand koopt en verkoopt, gesprekken en privé berichten afluisteren, privé berichten verbieden, messen verbieden want je kunt er iemand mee neer steken, noem het maar op. Er zijn grenzen, dit is waar dictaturen mee weg komen en een democreatie niet want in een democratie kan je iemand wegstemmen die zulke beslissingen maakt.

  • Lw

    2 days ago

    Privacy for the people, transparency for the powerful

  • Not public Pyrbaum

    4 days ago


  • Sara Vigário -702 Setúbal

    4 days ago

    "If the government offers you protection in exchange for your liberties, you'll end up losing both." This is anti-democratic, EU power is unhinged and way out of line.

  • 5 days ago

    Ich als Informatiker mit langjähriger Erfahrung kann nicht genug oft gegen der Regierung-Wille alles unter Kontrolle zu bringen, entgegenzuwirken. Das bringt keine Erhöhte Sicherheit, stattdessen aber neue Gefahren für die Gesellschaft

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