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Pro-surveillance EU Commissioner Ylva Johansson Dismisses Concerns About Lobbyists in Message Surveillance Bill

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The various EU institutions’ “entanglement” with the bloc’s own idea to try to substantially and dangerously undermine online encryption via a legislative effort known colloquially as “chat control” seems to be nearing a (positive for the internet) resolution – but the bureaucrats who support it appear to be unwilling to go down without a fight.

On Wednesday, European Parliament member (MEP) from Germany Patrick Breyer posted on his blog about EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson laboring to downplay concerns that lobbyists were reportedly part and parcel of drafting the regulation, supposedly there to protect children (stop the proliferation of CSAM content) – but in the process, thanks to its aggressive anti-encryption provisions, destroy the privacy of everyone on the web – including children!)

A day later, Breyer announced that the EP (European Parliament) negotiators had a majority to push through not what the EU Commission wanted – said to be indiscriminate bulk scanning of private communications – but to instead allow “only for a targeted surveillance of specific individuals and groups reasonably suspicious of being linked to child sexual abuse material, with a judicial warrant.”

Even with this development, it’s well worth taking a look at what the likes of Johansson had in mind just a day earlier (which they still could find some of the many EU loopholes to push through, mind you) – and how they justified it.

So, on Wednesday, the LIBE (European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) grilled Johansson on the issue of the alleged lobbying, in the context of “chat control.”

Reports about this first emerged in the press in September, and implied that the EU Commission was basically in cahoots with what’s described as “a foreign network” while coming up with what the critics dismiss as at once dangerous, and not even a smart scheme.

However, Johansson, as Breyer put it – “insisted no mistakes had been made.” (And here you see what it apparently takes to become a high-ranked EU official – the ability not to even wince when faced with overwhelming facts).

But for every bureaucrat speaking in circles, there are representatives of the public unwilling to mince their words.

“It was only to be expected that Johansson would respond to the revelations with her usual propaganda, such as citing a biased and suggestive Eurobarometer survey that violates the rules of good public opinion research,” Breyer spelled it out on Wednesday.

“In order to really hold Johansson accountable for her foreign-influenced bill and her lobbying in office, my committee, on our initiative, has demanded full access to all correspondence of her office with lobbying organizations – such as the secret letters of the dubious US foundation Thorn. Only then can we see the full extent of the entanglement with our own eyes” – he added at the time.

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