Facebook’s encryption plans will impact fight against terrorists, child abusers: Priti Patel    

Priti Patel (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
Priti Patel (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

THE new British Home Secretary said Facebook’s plans to introduce end-to-end encryption on its messenger could adversely impact the fight against terrorism and evils such as- paedophiles on the internet.

Social media giant’s latest move to introduce end-to-end encryption on its messaging platform would indirectly benefit terrorists, anti-social elements such as child abusers, drug traffickers, and others, Priti Patel said.

The latest statement from Patel came in response to the social media giant’s recent plan to introduce end-to-end encryption on Facebook messenger.

The Indian origin home secretary writing for The Telegraph urged social media companies to cooperate with the probe agencies by providing them with a form of ‘lawful access’ to encrypted messages through a ‘back door’ in very serious cases so that the investigators can nab the offenders easily.

Patel wrote: ‘(End-to-end encryption) will also hamper our own law enforcement agencies, and those of our allies, in their ability to identify and stop criminals abusing children, trafficking drugs, weapons and people, or terrorists plotting attacks.’

The home secretary added: ‘Where systems are deliberately designed using end-to-end encryption, which prevents any form of access to content, no matter what crimes that may enable, we must act.’

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder in May 2019, announced his plans for end-to-end encryption on the messenger.

The warnings were supported by the ‘Five Eyes’ countries– the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada – after a two-day meeting hosted by Patel and Geoffrey Cox, the Attorney General, in London.

“The Five Eyes are united that tech firms should not develop their systems and services, including end-to-end encryption, in ways that empower criminals or put vulnerable people at risk,” Patel said.

Senior ministers from the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US have reaffirmed their commitment to work together with industry to tackle a range of security threats including the sexual abuse and exploitation of children online.

During a roundtable with tech firms, ministers stressed that law enforcement agencies’ efforts to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes would be hampered if the industry carries out plans to implement end-to-end encryption, without the necessary safeguards.