According to recent data from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), a UK-based children’s charity, Facebook apps are used on over half of online child sex crimes, with Instagram being used for over a third. The children’s charity claims that end-to-end encryption will make it tougher for law enforcement to identify these crimes.
Speaking about lawmakers in the United Kingdom, NSPCC head of child safety online policy Andy Burrows said,
“Facebook is willingly turning back the clock on children’s safety by pushing ahead with end-to-end encryption despite repeated warnings that their apps will facilitate more serious abuse more often…If legislation is going to deliver meaningful change it needs to be strengthened to decisively tackle abuse in private messaging, one of the biggest threats to children online”
Facebook apps are looking to move towards end-to-end encryption, with WhatsApp already having the feature. While end-to-end encryption has several benefits, including upgraded user privacy, according to NSPCC, the encryption makes it tougher for law enforcement to find and arrest users who are committing these crimes through private messages.
A Facebook spokesperson responded to the claims from NSPCC, saying,
“Child exploitation has no place on our platforms and we will continue to lead the industry in developing new ways to prevent, detect and respond to abuse…End-to-end encryption is already the leading security technology used by many services to keep people, including children, safe from having their private information hacked and stolen. Its full rollout on our messaging services is a long-term project and we are building strong safety measures into our plans.”
Although end-to-end encryption is becoming the industry standard, it seems that there are some definite issues with this level of encryption. This essentially puts all of the responsibility of combating these types of predators on the shoulders of the social websites themselves, and we’ve all seen how Facebook has handled responsibility in the past.