Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The European Commission has proposed controversial new regulation that would require chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to selectively scan users’ private messages for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and “grooming” behavior. The proposal is similar to plans mooted by Apple last year but, say critics, much more invasive.

After a draft of the regulation leaked earlier this week, privacy experts condemned it in the strongest terms. “This document is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen,” tweeted cryptography professor Matthew Green. “It describes the most sophisticated mass surveillance machinery ever deployed outside of China and the USSR. Not an exaggeration.”

Jan Penfrat of digital advocacy group European Digital…

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