Government officials are working to prevent Facebook from implementing end-to-end encryption for its messaging apps, which would limit governments’ ability to spy on Facebook users’ communications.
Suella Braverman, Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, has already urged Facebook parent company Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg not to move forward with end-to-end encryption, which is expected to roll out this year.
According to The Australian, Braverman has discussed the issue with U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. The effort to take on Facebook encrypted messaging is backed by Australia and New Zealand, as well.
“Meta’s introduction of end-to-end encryption without the safeguards which are currently in place will provide an online haven for pedophiles, organised criminals and fraudsters. It’s crucial for the safety of our children and citizens that they think again,” a government source said. “The whole of government is clear about the terrible threat that this poses and the home secretary and security minister are pushing hard to drive this message home to Meta. There will be no let-up.”
Currently, Meta scans all messages to report suspected child abuse activity to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Director-general of operations at the NCA, Rob Jones, warned encryption “means that the light that has been shone on child abuse on the internet will be switched off.”
“Slowly but surely, 25 years of insight into online child abuse will be killed,” Jones said. “And that insight, day on day, results in children being rescued and people who are involved in child abuse being arrested. It’s as simple as that.”
“The relationship with Meta is vital to UK law enforcement. They provide 25 per cent of all the referrals in relation to online child abuse that we act on in the UK. These figures represent children that are at risk and offenders trying to abuse children,” he continued. “Our ability to act is based on these referrals.”