A passerby passes Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California, October 28, 2021 (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/Archives/JUSTIN SULLIVAN)
British Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Wednesday urged Meta not to deploy end-to-end encryption on its platforms without “robust” security measures to protect children from sexual exploitation.
In a statement published on Wednesday, the Home Office believes that the group’s announcement to imminently implement this type of encryption of communications on Instagram and Facebook Messenger exposes children to the risk of being targeted by “predators”.
Currently, 800 are arrested each month in the UK and up to 1,200 children escape sexual abuse thanks to tips provided by social media platforms, according to the Home Office.
Implementing Meta’s plans as they stand would prevent law enforcement from detecting child abuse as they currently do, according to the Home Office.
It cites an estimate from crime agency the NCA that 92% and 85% of messages reported on Facebook Messenger and Instagram Direct respectively are lost, meaning “thousands of offenders may not be caught.” detected per year.
This encryption must not be done to the detriment of “the safety of our children”, underlined Minister of the Interior Suella Braverman.
Meta responded by highlighting the “solid” measures developed over the last five years to combat abuse.
“As we roll out end-to-end encryption, we expect to continue to report more to law enforcement than our peers because of our industry-leading work to keep people safe,” said a spokesperson for Meta.
The call comes as the British Parliament passed a law touted by the government as making the UK the “safest place in the world” to use the internet, particularly for children.
© 2023 AFP
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