In a major announcement, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Messenger, has declared that all messages and calls on these platforms will be encrypted. This move towards end-to-end encryption ensures that only the sender and recipient have access to the content.
While opting for encrypted messages has been possible for years, Meta is now making it the default setting. However, critics, including Home Secretary James Cleverly, express concerns about the potential impact on detecting child abuse cases.
Cleverly emphasizes the importance of collaboration with Meta to ensure online safety for children, but he acknowledges that this move is viewed as a significant setback.
“We’ll continue to work closely with them (Meta) to keep children safe online, but we must be honest that in our view, this is a significant step back”, he said.
James Babbage, Director General for Threats at the National Crime Agency, also criticizes the decision, stating that implementing end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger makes the task of protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation even more challenging.
“It is hugely disappointing that Meta is choosing to roll out end-to-end encryption on Facebook Messenger.
“Today our role in protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation just got harder,” he said.