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Priti Patel says Facebook and Instagram risk ‘gross betrayal’ to children | UK News



Facebook and Instagram would be found guilty of “grotesque treason” against children if the platforms implemented encrypted messaging without safeguards against abuse, the cabinet secretary said.

Priti Patel urges Meta — which also owns WhatsApp — to introduce protections before expanding end-to-end encryption later this year.

Current plans for the technology will see messages be accessed and read only by the sender and recipient, in a security feature to protect personal data and privacy.

But critics, including Interior Secretaryraised concerns that the police and Meta would not be able to flag harmful or disturbing content.

She fears the move will prevent police from investigating child abuse.

Writing in the Telegraph, Ms Patel said: “The consequences of inadequate protection – especially for end-to-end encrypted social media platforms – would be dire.

“A lot of child predators use social media platforms like Facebook detect, target and sexually abuse children. These protections need to be in place before end-to-end encryption is rolled out around the world. “

She insisted “a way forward can be found” as she urged the tech giant to work with the Home Office to put in place safeguards.

Ms Patel added: “It would be completely unacceptable – a grotesque betrayal indeed – for anyone to say this is too hard or it doesn’t really matter.

“But while some things are more important than profits, it’s really in the financial interests of tech companies that the public should trust that their products and services will not be used to harm them.” love children.”

She said GCHQ’s proposals suggest that scanning can “reduce rates of child sexual abuse online while maintaining the privacy benefits of end-to-end encryption.”

However, the platform calls this “intrusion”.

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A Meta spokesperson said: “We have zero tolerance for child exploitation on our platform and focus on solutions that don’t require scanning that invades people’s private conversations. We want to prevent harm from happening in the first place, not just find out later.

“We continue to work with outside experts and law enforcement to help keep people safe online.”



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