Britain Calls on Meta to Prioritize Children’s Safety in Encryption Rollout

Britain Calls on Meta to Prioritize Children’s Safety in Encryption Rollout

Facebook Instagram News WhatsApp

Following the passage of the Online Safety Bill, the British government has urged Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook Messenger, to implement end-to-end encryption on its platforms with proper safety measures to protect children from sexual abuse. Meta, which already offers encrypted messaging on WhatsApp, argues that end-to-end encryption enhances safety and security.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman, while supporting strong online encryption for users, emphasized the need to prioritize child safety. She stated, “Meta has failed to provide assurances that they will keep their platforms safe from sickening abusers. They must develop appropriate safeguards to sit alongside their plans for end-to-end encryption.”

In response, a spokesperson for Meta highlighted that the majority of users rely on encryption in various apps to protect themselves. They emphasized Meta’s five years of work in implementing safety measures to combat abuse while maintaining online security.

Meta intends to provide an update on the measures it is taking, including restrictions on messaging between adults and teenagers who are not connected, as well as using technology to identify and address malicious behavior. The spokesperson also stated that Meta expects to provide more reports to law enforcement than other platforms as they roll out end-to-end encryption.

The Online Safety Bill, once enacted into law, will hold social media platforms to stricter requirements in protecting children from harmful content. However, the provision of end-to-end encryption remains a contentious point between tech companies and the government. Messaging platforms, particularly WhatsApp, argue that the bill could force them to compromise end-to-end encryption. The government maintains that it does not outrightly ban encryption but requires companies to address child abuse and explore technological solutions to scan encrypted messages as a last resort.

Sources: Reuters