End-To-End Encryption May Exploit Children More

End-to-end encryption makes it impossible to monitor content and prevents the police from gathering evidence of child sexual exploitation.

Plans by social media firms for more messaging encryption would put children at risk, England’s children’s commissioner has said.

Anne Longfield says end-to-end encryption, which hides messages from everyone except those in a conversation, makes it impossible for platforms to monitor content and prevents the police from gathering evidence of child sexual exploitation.

Her report – Access Denied: How End-To-End Encryption Threatens Children’s Safety Online – suggests nine out of 10 children aged between eight and 17 are using messaging services, meaning millions could be at risk.

According to the report, more than a third of children say they have received a message that made them feel uncomfortable, and nearly one in 10 said they had talked with strangers on a messaging app.

Facebook has previously announced plans to fully encrypt communications in its Messenger app and its Instagram messaging service. WhatsApp is already fully encrypted.

Ms Longfield said: “It has now been 18 months since the government published its Online Harms White Paper and yet little has happened since, while the threat to children’s safety increases.

“It’s time for the government to show it hasn’t lost its nerve and that it is prepared to stand up to the powerful internet giants, who are such a big part in our children’s lives.

Originally published at Sky News

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