EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson's draft on chat control and further measures in the digital space is meeting with criticism from a variety of quarters. Johansson, however, is not fazed, but says that chat control approval is only a matter of time.

You can find out what is currently being discussed here.

Johansson's draft chat control

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Johansson presented her draft at an EU ministerial meeting. In the fight against child sexual abuse on the Internet, she is working primarily with German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

To this end, the draft includes an obligation for messenger services, social media and hosting providers to recognize and report abusive material (so-called chat control). Nowadays, however, messenger services in particular rely on end-to-end encryption of the content sent, which would have to be circumvented in the event of such a control.

 Johansson defends her draft by saying that it does not prescribe any technology on how chat control should be carried out. Rather, this would be determined by the new planned EU center in.

In addition, the draft also contains topics such as age verification by app stores.

Criticism by Faeser of chat control

Even though Johansson said she was glad to have the support of Nancy Faeser as Federal Minister of the Interior in her plans, she was recently critical of chat control. Faeser stated that she wanted to "tighten the reins" against perpetrators who inflict terrible violence on children. However, encrypted private communication should not be interfered with. Faeser said that this would affect many people who had nothing to do with the crimes.

Criticism by the traffic light coalition of chat control

The traffic light coalition emphasizes the great achievement of private communication away from state control. Several ministers and members of parliament were therefore critical of the proposed chat control.

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) positioned himself as "very critical". He rejects such a "comprehensive monitoring measure of private correspondence, especially in the digital space". For him, chat controls had "no place in a constitutional state.

Digital Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) expressed his concern. He sees the so-called chat control as an "intrusion into the protected space of confidentiality of communication".

Constitutional concerns

Even from a purely constitutional point of view, reservations can be raised against so-called chat control. Of course, the objective is important and correct. However, the draft leaves many questions unanswered. The exact form of the obligations that would affect companies remains unclear. Above all, it is unclear how chat control can be prevented from turning into mass surveillance. In this case, masses of private messages would be made accessible to the European coordination authority. In light of the rulings on data retention, it is not evident that such a fundamental monitoring of private communications would withstand fundamental rights scrutiny.


The so-called chat control pursues correct and important goals. However, the implementation in the current version does not seem sustainable. The constitutional concerns in particular must be met with further efforts to do justice to child protection while preserving the encryption of digital messages.

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