Is End-To-End Encryption a Danger to Children?

Is End-To-End Encryption a Danger to Children?

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UK’s National Crime Agency claims that Meta’s new default end-to-end encryption feature for Messenger will hinder law enforcement’s ability to analyze reports and investigate claims of actual abuse content detected on the messaging platform.

The NCA, head of an international law enforcement alliance for the protection of children from online sexual abuse, said: “Today, our role in protecting children from sexual abuse just got harder.” They explained that when a platform is end-to-end encryption, law enforcement is no longer able to see that content, “putting every single referral that we receive from that platform at risk.”

The agency adds that 92% of detected child abuse content from Facebook and 85% from Instagram will be lost to UK police every year, making it nearly impossible for law enforcement to follow up on information given to them.

NCA’s Director General for Threats James Babbage said: “It is hugely disappointing that Meta is choosing to roll out end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger. They have an important responsibility to keep children safe on their platform, and sadly, this will no longer be possible.”

He adds that the problem is only likely to worsen, as offenders will still use Facebook Messenger to send illegal material, and will use the vast quantity of data shared on the platform about children to select and groom future victims.

According to Cybernews, in years past Meta has supported law enforcement by identifying and reporting instances of child sexual abuse to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in the US, as required by US law. In the UK, the NCMEC first sends the reports to the NCA, which will then analyze them and send valuable leads to police across the British nation.