Campaign Wants To Stop Encryption On Facebook For Fear Of Abuse

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Facebook: A campaign led in the UK by abuse survivors, child safety activists and charities promises some headaches for Meta. With all set to roll out end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger and Instagram, the tech giant is being accused by activists of “willingly blindfold”.

Financially supported by the British Home Office, the “No Place To Hide” campaign advocates the immediate suspension of encryption plans in the US giant’s applications. For campaign members, heavily protected messages, where only the sender and recipient can view the content, can hide millions of child sexual abuse cases.

While the campaign is not specifically targeting the end-to-end encryption of Mark Zuckerberg’s companies, the agenda has gained traction last year following a scathing speech by Interior Minister Priti Patel in which she called plans to encrypt social media as “unacceptable”.

Why is end-to-end encryption useful for abusers?

Security activists warn that, by restricting the content of messages to “two ends”, encryption prevents platforms from being able to view the content and, consequently, from assisting authorities in the investigation of crimes committed by child sexual abusers.

Abuse survivor and Marie Collins Foundation expert on technology-assisted child rape, Rhiannon-Faye McDonald questioned in The Guardian newspaper on Tuesday (18) the thesis that the matter is only about privacy. “My abuse was captured with photos and videos that may be out there right now as I speak,” she said.

What the campaign demands is a guarantee that the so-called E2EE technology can prevent child sexual abusers from using social networks to stalk their victims and publicize their crimes. Owner of Messenger and Instagram, Meta pledged last November to delay its end-to-end encryption plans to “sometime in 2023”.