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Justice Minister Buschmann is “very skeptical” about messenger surveillance


The EU Commission wants to be able to force WhatsApp to search chats for abuse images. According to SPIEGEL information, there is resistance in the Federal Ministry of Justice and also in the SPD.

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Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann: »Digital civil rights are not second-class civil rights«


IMAGO/Sebastian Gabsch / IMAGO/Future Image

The EU Commission wants to step up action against the distribution of images and videos that document the sexual abuse of children.

But Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson's plan is not only met with resistance from civil rights organizations such as the Chaos Computer Club.

Even the German Child Protection Association considers the plans to be “disproportionate and not effective”.

Politically, however, it is even more important whether the EU member states support the project.

Different signals are coming from Germany.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) had expressed her approval of the Brussels plans in a first reaction.

But even in the cabinet, not everyone sees it that way.

Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) told SPIEGEL on Friday: »Digital civil rights are not second-class civil rights.

The Federal Constitutional Court has repeatedly warned against the strict proportionality of secret investigative measures against the background of the specially protected secrecy of letters and telecommunications.

I am very skeptical about this new draft – both legally and especially politically.«

His company rejects a “general, comprehensive monitoring of private correspondence, especially in the digital space”.

Apparently, the Minister of Justice has even used the term "chat control" to describe the Commission's proposal - coined by EU parliamentarian Patrick Breyer (Pirate Party), one of the project's harshest critics.

“Not compatible with the coalition agreement”

In any case, the ministry says that "the chat control is also not compatible with the coalition agreement".

SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed to strengthen digital civil rights and IT security.

However, the planned right to encryption "would probably have to be circumvented for chat control".

In the fight against child abuse, it is better to rely on "well-equipped law enforcement agencies, up-to-date and precise instruments and on prevention".

Contrary to the first statement by SPD Minister Faeser, parts of the SPD parliamentary group are also opposed to the EU plans.

Group circles say that the broad criticism of the EU plans, from the child protection agency to the investigative authorities, is not exaggerated.

One is surprised at how far the Commission proposals now presented go.

As long as the authorities do not make full use of the investigative tools they already have, such as following all traces of previous proceedings or targeted hacking measures, they are against all surveillance measures without cause, they say.

The political dispute in Germany is likely to have an important impact on the implementation of the Commission's plans.

Both the EU Parliament and the member states still have to agree.

Behind the scenes, political struggles are likely to be fierce in the coming months over the balance between child protection and the protection of privacy.

Organization of those affected calls for a balanced debate

Julia von Weiler from the Innocence in Danger organization for those affected is disappointed at how much the public debate in recent weeks has focused on the issue of surveillance.

"It is important to always deal with the issue of data protection and the protection of privacy," says von Weiler.

However, it is also important to think about the privacy of those affected, whose pictures are often shared thousands of times over the Internet for years, Weiler told SPIEGEL.

She welcomes the EU plans in principle.

"The fact that many politicians from the governing parties are responding to this attempt with battle terms such as 'mass surveillance' or 'general suspicion' is deeply disturbing." This does neither justice to those affected nor to their office and prevents the "important, solution-oriented discourse that we to need."

"The problem of depictions of child abuse online is getting bigger and we as a society are still not doing enough about it." However, von Weiler points out that more needs to be done offline as well.

She mentioned prevention, but also youth welfare offices.

In the case of abuse in Münster or in Lügde, for example, blatant mistakes by the authorities became public afterwards, which led to children remaining in endangered families despite appropriate information and warnings.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2022-05-20

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