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EU Plans Major Expansion of Mass Surveillance, MEP Claims

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The European Union (EU) is planning to implement a new set of draconian mass surveillance rules shortly after Sunday’s EU Parliament election, a member of the EP has warned after the plans surfaced on the internet.

The conclusion that radical surveillance measures are in the works proceeds from documents detailing the meetings of working groups, dubbed “high level group(s) on access to data for effective law enforcement.”

The documents originate from the EU Commission, and contain a number of recommendations, including reintroducing indiscriminate retention of communications data in the bloc, creation of encryption backdoors, as well as forcing hardware manufacturers to give access to anything from phones to cars to law enforcement through what is known as “access by design.”

MEP Patrick Breyer announced that the plan contains 42 points produced by the EU Commission and governments of member-countries. The purpose of being able to access phones, IoT (such as “smart home”) devices, and cars is to make sure they can be monitored around the clock.

Meanwhile, the return of controversial data retention is planned despite a previous ruling of the EU Court of Justice, and could even be extended to include over-the-top services such as messengers (this is defined as retaining IP information data “at the very least”). That, Breyer explains, means that all internet activities will become trackable.

A favorite target of authorities actively undermining their image as democracies has for a while been end-to-end encryption. Here, the EU intends to ban secure encryption of metadata and subscriber data, as well as force messaging services who implement encryption to allow interception.

The EU further plans to “tackle” the use of encryption devices that it declares are “proven to be used solely” by criminals. In reality, the right to install encryption backdoors in phones and computers can be abused to spy on anyone, dissidents and critics included.

Technology providers will, if so ordered by judicial authorities, have to break encryption in order to “facilitate access to data at rest in user’s devices.” And there will be “mechanisms for robust cooperation with communication and technology providers” – meaning they will have to share data with governments and law enforcement.

If these agencies demand, service providers must activate GPS location tracking, according to these recommended “solutions for effective law enforcement.” Representatives of providers who refuse could end up in jail.

“This extreme surveillance plan must not become a reality, if only because it has been cooked up by a completely one-sided secret group of surveillance fanatics working without any real transparency or democratic legitimacy,” Breyer stated.

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