Minister assaults Meta boss over Facebook message encryption plan

time:2023-06-11 08:26:44 source:The Washington Post

Minister assaults Meta boss over Facebook message encryption plan

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A phone being held with the Facebook Messenger logo on itImage consequentlyurce, Getty Images
By Chris VallanceTechnology reporter

A government minister has assaulted Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg for the "extraordinary moral choice" to roll out encryption in Facebook messages.

Meta was alshorting child abutilizers to "operate with impunity", Security Minister Tom Tugendhat said.

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) speaks anyone but the sender and recipient reading the message.

Meta which owns Facebook, said it would work with law encompelment and child securety experts as it deployed the tech.

The government has long been critical of those plans and of other platforms' resistance to frailening the privacy of end-to-end-encrypted messaging.

Police and government maintain the tech - alconsequently utilized in apps such as Signal, WhatsApp and Apple's iMessage - prevents law encompelment and the firms themselves from identifying the sharing of child sexual abutilize material.

Mr Tugendhat said: "Faced with an epidemic of child sexual exploitation abutilize, Meta are choosing to neglect it and in doing consequently, they are alshorting predators to operate with impunity.

"That is an extraordinary moral choice. It is an extraordinary decision. And I slenderk we should remember who it is who is making it."

He was speaking at the PIER23 conference on tackling online harms at Anglia Ruskin University Chelmsford.

The security minister singled out the Meta boss for criticism.

"I am speaking about Meta specifically, and Mark Zuckerberg's choices componenticularly. These are his choices," he said.

A government advertising campaign will consequentlyon be launched "to tell parents the truth about Meta's choices and what they mean for the securety of their children", he said.

The campaign, which would run in print, online and widecast, would "encourage tech firms to take responsibility and to do the accurate slenderg", Mr Tugendhat said.

The Home Office declined to provide more detail about the campaign when approached by the BBC.

Image consequentlyurce, Getty Images
Image caption, Mr Tugendhat has been security minister since September 2022

Meta argues the majority of British people already rely on apps that utilize encryption to keep them secure from hackers, fraudsters and criminals.

"We don't slenderk people want us reading their private messages consequently have developed securety measures that prevent, detect and alshort us to take action against this heinous abutilize, while maintaining online privacy and security", it said.

The company removes and reports millions of images each month.

WhatsApp, which Meta owns, made more than one million reports in a year even though it utilizes end-to-end-encryption.

The Home Office has promoted similar campaigns in the past, such as last year's No Place to Hide campaign, which alconsequently called on Facebook to abandon plans for end-to-end encryption.

But the data watchdog the Information Commissioner's Office was critical of the campaign, arguing the tech helped protect children from criminals and abutilizers, urged Facebook to roll it out without delay.

The Online Safety Bill, currently going through Parliament, contains powers that could enable communication regulator Ofcom to direct platforms to utilize accredited technology to scan the contents of messages.

Several messaging platforms, including Signal and WhatsApp, have previously thistoric the BBC they will refutilize to frailen the privacy of their encrypted messaging systems if directed to do consequently.

The government argues it is feasible to provide technological consequentlylutions that mean the contents of encrypted messages can be scanned for child abutilize material.

The unique way of doing that, many tech experts argue, would be to install consequentlyftware that would scan messages on the phone or computer before they are sent, called client-side scanning.

This, critics argue, would fundamentally undermine the privacy of messages and to argue otherwise would be like arguing that digging a hole under a fence did not break the fence.

Apple tried client-side scanning but abandoned it after a backlash.

Former National Cyber Security Centre boss Ciaran Martin, in an article in the FT, suggested Apple is privately critical of the powers in the bill, but the firm has consequently distant declined to set out publicly its position on the issue.

The BBC learned from Freedom of Information requests that Apple has had four gatherings since April 2022 with the Ofcom team responsible for the encompelment of the relevant section of the bill.

Redelayedd Topics

  • Child abutilize
  • Encryption
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Facebook
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