Critics have warned Facebook’s encryption plans across its messaging service could harm ongoing work to combat child abuse

The CEO of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg said that end-to-end encryption prevents anyone including us because it protects the privacy of users, but this major step has become much controversial because Facebook can’t read the messages being sent so it may be relived it burden content moderation. End-to-end encryption means that only the sender and recipient can read the messages. Governments of the UK, US, and Australia believe that end-to-end encryption can provide a safe place to criminals, so they are demanding that Facebook needs to give them a backdoor to access the encrypted messages to stop child abuse. Recently, the National Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) invited Home Secretary Priti Patel to speak in which Patel said that Facebook must take into account public safety before making the changes to the platform and it should seriously consider the impact on children.

Many tech companies are now using certain technologies to find child abuse images and detect tutoring and the material of child abuse in private chats. But there are many concerns about the end-to-end encryptions on Messenger and Instagram which is also owned by Facebook would render these tools impractical. NSPCC says that you can find more cases of child abuse in private messages and therefore it has become an "either-or" argument between personal confidentiality and child protection as we are calling for a balanced solution that protects both.

YouGov has conducted a poll in NSPCC that showed that the public support will increase up to 62% from 33% for end-to-end encryption if Facebook elaborates that it will protect the rights of children and 55% of adults think that ability to detect child abuse images is more significant than privacy. More than 90% supported social media platforms and messaging services have the technical skill to spot child abuse images on their platform.

Patel urged tech companies to take the matter of child abuse seriously because it is as important as doing their business. If Facebook enhances end-to-end encryption to Messenger and Instagram, it will lose about 70% of child abuse reports that is a big number as per the statement of NSPCC. Patel said that Government does support encryption and in some cases, it is important too because it protects the privacy of the user, but we want this service in such a way that is also consistent with public protection and child protection.

According to Priti Patel, at a time when we are taking more actions to stop child abuse cases, Facebook is not focusing on the problems that can even increase the number of child abuse cases online. We cannot allow a situation where law enforcement’s ability to confront repugnant criminal acts and protect victims is sternly vulnerable. If Facebook simply removes the accounts from its platform, it is not the final solution. The NSPCC says that recently there is more focus on the investigation of child abuse cases after it has already taken place, instead of giving attention to the loss of the platform’s ability to stop abuse earlier.

The Chief executive of NSPCC said that the private message is the frontline of child abuse and end-to-end encryptions are leaving children insecure on this platform. The spokesperson of Facebook said that child abuse has no place on our platform and we are against it but we will lead our platform to develop new ways to protect the privacy of users and respond to child exploitation. End-to-end is the leading technology to prevent the attacks of hackers and criminals.

Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

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