British Authority Defends Encryption On Facebook And Instagram

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Facebook: The debate over whether to use end-to-end encryption for all Facebook apps is still hot in the UK. On Friday (21), it was the turn of the British data protection authority (ICO) to intervene in the discussion, showing itself in favor of the use of technology.

Recently, a group of child safety activists, supported by charities and abuse survivors, launched a campaign against Mark Zuckerberg’s company’s plans to strengthen encryption on all its platforms, wanting to prevent its deployment. The demonstrations also received the approval of the country’s government.

But, according to the independent body, which oversees the protection of British citizens’ data, blocking the technology puts everyone, including children, at risk. For the authority, end-to-end encryption strengthens online security and reduces threat exposures, as well as enabling secure information sharing.

“This strengthens children’s online safety by not allowing criminals and abusers to upload harmful content or access their photos or location,” said ICO Executive Director Stephen Bonner. He refers to the tool already present in WhatsApp and which should arrive on Instagram and Facebook from 2023.

Arguments against technology

Strengthening privacy, ensuring greater secrecy for participants in a conversation, is the biggest benefit of end-to-end encryption. With it activated, only chat participants have access to messages, which cannot be read by the platform on which the chat takes place.

According to groups opposed to activating the feature on Facebook Messenger, in particular, the tool will allow hiding a huge number of cases of child sexual abuse in the messaging service. The campaign, called “No Place to Hide”, calls for a broader debate before encrypting social media.