Britain’s home secretary is to accuse Facebook of undermining efforts to catch paedophiles through the protection of online messages.
On Monday, Priti Patel would be attending a virtual event with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) on encryption of chat messages.
During the event, she is due to raise concerns over Facebook’s plans to encrypt Instagram and Facebook messages, according to comments seen by dpa ahead of the meeting.
End-to-end encryption ensures only the sender and receiver can read an online message.
Critics have said this prevents authorities from intercepting possible criminal content, such as child pornography.
Companies such as WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, and Signal already has encryption.
Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg had announced plans in March 2019 to expand encryption further.
“Sadly, at a time when we need to be taking more action, Facebook is pursuing end-to-end encryption plans that place the good work and progress achieved so far in jeopardy,’’ Patel is expected to say.
“The offending will continue, the images of children being abused will proliferate, but the company intends to blind itself to this problem through end-to-end encryption which prevents all access to messaging content, and a set of safety measures which are nowhere near sufficient.’’
She would also call for Facebook to “work with us to embed the safety of the public in their system designs.’’
A Facebook spokesperson said “child exploitation has no place on its platforms and the company would continue to lead the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect and respond to abuse.” (dpa/NAN)