Europol sought unlimited access to data from chat services

Europol sought unlimited access to data from chat services

Europol sought unlimited access to data from chat services in its fight against child sexual abuse.

The police organization wants to train its AI models to recognize the material, reports Balkan Investigative Reporting Network. The European Commission aims to require chat service providers to scan all messages for possible child abuse and forward them to a central center. Europol would like to tag along and has asked the EC for unlimited access to this data.

Further use of data obtained

In addition, the police organization indicated that there should also be no limits on how it wants to further use the data. Europol would like to use the technology of client-side scanning of chat services for detecting other crimes as well. There should also be an exception in the EU AI Act for the police organization to use AI tools.

The AI Act includes a specific clause stating that data not “manifestly unfounded” will be forwarded to Europol and national investigative agencies. In addition, Europol will have access to the scanning center’s database.

Internal privacy warning

Meanwhile, according to investigative journalists, Europol is already said to be working on an internal AI tool that can classify images of child sexual abuse. However, an internal privacy specialist reportedly raised concerns in June about possible privacy issues surrounding the results of chat service scanning.

Among other things, this data collection method could lead to bias, false positives and false negatives.

Europol’s reaction

In response, according to the study, Europol states that the organization has put the fight against child sexual abuse within the EU high on its agenda. For this mission, therefore, it is important that it gets the right data to protect the EU and its citizens from serious and organized crime, including child sexual abuse. The talks between the EC and Europol on data access were therefore completely legitimate in the eyes of the police organization.

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