EU Faces Backlash Over CSAM Scanning Proposal

EU Faces Backlash Over CSAM Scanning Proposal

Alessandro Rossi
2 min read

The European Commission Faces Criticism Over Proposal to Scan Private Messages for Child Sexual Abuse Material

The European Commission's proposal to mandate the scanning of private messages of European Union citizens for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) has sparked criticism and concerns regarding industry lobbying and lack of transparency. The EU's ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has accused the Commission of withholding information and failing to disclose documents related to the CSAM-scanning proposal, citing worries about public security, commercial interests, and personal data protection. Legal experts have warned that the proposed law could infringe on democratic rights and compromise user privacy and security by enforcing client-side scanning. The Commission's insistence on the controversial CSAM detection orders despite opposition across multiple EU institutions has further fueled the debate, with a deadline for the Commission's response set for July 26.

Key Takeaways

  • The European Commission is facing calls for full disclosure of its interactions with private technology companies regarding the controversial tech policy.
  • The proposal involves scanning private messages of European Union citizens to detect CSAM, leading to concerns about the influence of tech industry lobbying on the Commission's drafting of the proposal.
  • Emily O'Reilly, the EU's ombudsman, has found evidence of withholding information by the Commission and has requested a response to concerns by July 26.
  • The Commission has received warnings from the European Data Protection Supervisor, civil society groups, and European Parliament lawmakers about the potential impact of the proposal on democratic rights and user privacy.
  • The lack of transparency and withholding of information by the Commission has raised suspicions, with the ombudsman questioning justifications for withholding sensitive information.


The European Commission's proposition to scan private messages of EU citizens has sparked concerns about industry lobbying and transparency. With the EU's ombudsman suspecting maladministration and inviting a response from the Commission, the proposal has drawn criticism from various stakeholders for potential infringements on democratic rights and user privacy. The use of client-side scanning could further impact user security and privacy, raising questions about the Commission's justifications for withholding information and potential consequences for EU-citizen trust and data protection.

Did You Know?

  • European Commission: The executive branch of the European Union (EU) responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, and upholding the EU treaties.
  • Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM): Content that depicts or encourages sexual abuse of minors, illegal and a serious crime in many jurisdictions, including the EU.
  • Client-side scanning: A technology used to scan user data on the client side before sending it to the server, raising privacy and security concerns.
  • Emily O'Reilly (EU Ombudsman): An independent figure responsible for investigating maladministration in the EU institutions.
  • Transparency and Lobbying: Vital for holding government institutions accountable and ensuring democratic processes.
  • Maladministration: Refers to the mismanagement or inappropriate actions by a public authority.
  • European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS): Monitors and ensures data protection compliance by EU institutions.

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