Facebook encryption would threaten public safety

Home Secretary Priti Patel has signed an open letter to Facebook calling on it to rethink its plans to encrypt all messages on its platforms, citing the threat to public safety as the reason.

Alongside counterparts in the US and Australia, Patel said that such a move will  hamper international efforts to grant law enforcers faster access to private messages on social media, as agreed between the UK and US.

Facebook said it is ‘consulting closely with child safety experts, governments and technology companies and devoting new teams and sophisticated technology’ to keep people safe, with the technology giant maintaining that ‘people have the right to have a private conversation online’.

The letter says that companied, such as Facebook, have a responsibility to ‘balance privacy with the safety of the public’, with no reassurances yet given to show that the decision ‘will not act as barrier to the identification and pursuit of criminals operating on their platforms’.

The letter was also signed by the US Attorney General William P Barr, Acting US Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan and the Australian minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton.


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