MEP proposes 'black box' PC monitoring system

Under the pretext of a plea for children to be better protected on the internet, MEP Tiziano Motti has proposed installing a black box on every computer in Europe, to monitor and record every little scrap of traffic.

"We politicians are often hypocrites," Motti told EuropaPortalen of his plan. "On the one hand, we say that pedophilia is terrible and that it must be fought. On the other hand we do not give police the necessary tools to combat it. With my suggestion we can stop the hypocrisy."

Motti's proposal is to use a technology developed by Italian hacker Fabio Ghioni dubbed 'Logbox' to record every scrap of traffic that originates from every computing device across the EU.

That's worth a second-glance: Motti isn't just suggesting that PCs and laptops need to be monitored, but nothing capable of being connected to the Internet. As a result, Logbox would be installed on smartphones, featurephones with WAP access, eReaders, Blu-ray players and even TVs.

Logbox sits quietly in the background, monitoring the traffic for violations - and alerting authorities if something untoward, such as an image of child abuse, is discovered. Any evidence gathered is encrypted and stored securely, waiting for the police to show up.

"It allows the honest citizens to anonymously register their activities on the internet in a comprehensive, secure and neutral manner that can not be abused," Motti's proposal explains. "So, users can clearly demonstrate that they have not committed criminal acts so that the police do not waste time on the innocent in their investigations."

Other MEPs haven't quite agreed with Motti's proposal. ActivePolitic has gathered some dissenting responses, including MEP Lars Christian Engstrom's rejection of Motti's proposal. "If it were China, North Korea or Saudi Arabia who had proposed this, what would we say then? It's scary in a democratic Europe to even hear a politician suggest such a thing. It is so absurd that I really hope we never have to discuss it seriously in Parliament."

Last year, Motti convinced the European Parliament to support a proposal extending the data storage directive to cover Google search terms, again using child abuse as the hot-button topic. Hopefully, Motti's latest wheeze won't be so lucky.