The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition)
Private messages ‘a threat for child safety’
Private messaging is the “front line of child sexual abuse online” and further discussion is needed on end-to-end encryption, a charity has warned.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said private messaging has become an “either or” argument between adult privacy and child safety.
It came as an NSPCC poll, conducted by Yougov, showed public support for end-to-end encryption would almost double if platforms could demonstrate children’s safety would not be compromised.
Home Secretary Priti Patel is due to speak at a round-table discussion, hosted by the NSPCC, which will be attended by child protection and law enforcement experts around the world today.
Major tech firms use a range of technology to identify child abuse images and detect grooming and sexual abuse in private messages.
But concerns have been raised over proposals for end-toend encryption of Facebook Messenger and Instagram, which would render these tools useless.
The NSPCC estimates 70% of global child abuse reports could be lost.
The charity said there is too much emphasis on the investigation of abuse after it has taken place, rather than the loss of platforms’ ability to detect and disrupt abuse earlier.
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said: “Private messaging is the front line of child sexual abuse but the current debate around end-to-end encryption risks leaving children unprotected where there is most harm.
“The public wants an end to rhetoric that heats up the issue but shines little light on a solution.”