Does end-to-end encryption put children’s safety at risk? The end-to-end encryption (E2EE) system, which Facebook plans to pass on the grounds that it is more secure, is being criticized in England on the grounds that it would pose a risk to children.
In the UK, a group of government and aid organizations are urging the public to pressure Facebook not to put “end-to-end passwords” (E2EE) on its messaging service Messenger.
It is stated that if Facebook introduces the “ultra-secure messaging system”, more children will be at risk of harassment online.
Privacy advocates and tech companies say the system is essential for personal privacy and data security. The struggle that started in the UK is being watched closely, as many governments around the world want to put an end to end-to-end encryption as it stands.
For years, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the USA, India and Japan, as well as Interpol and the UK’s crime-fighting agency NCA, have criticized the technology.
Meanwhile, billions of people using WhatsApp, iMessage and Signal have adopted end-to-end encryption technology.
ENCRYPTION IS IMPORTANT IN INTERNET BANKING
Encryption is known as a method of scrambling data to make what is written unreadable. This is especially important for sensitive internet transactions such as internet banking and e-mail. The system works by agreeing a secret password between a website or application and our devices. All information we send to the relevant services over the Internet is encrypted before being sent.
When it reaches the company we communicate with, it is deciphered with the secret password agreed upon. Everyone welcomes this type of encryption, because it protects our information from hackers and criminals as it travels the internet.
However, this data can be read by the companies that process the information, and the security forces or the police can request any message the company hides from the companies.
DATA PROCESSERS DON’T KNOW THE CODE IN END-TO-END ENCRYPTION
End-to-end encryption goes one step further. The secret code agreed upon by the sender and receiver is so secret that even the company processing the data does not know the code. This means that only the recipient can decode messages, photos and calls.
The easiest way to understand how the system works is to imagine that you want to receive a letter in the mail that only you can read.
You’re sending someone a box whose key only you own. They put their letters inside and when they close the box they lock it. Then they send you the one-of-a-kind key to unlock. The digital version of the lock box is known as the “Public key”, while the key unique to you is called your “private key”.
The system is loved by those who care about their privacy, as it hides data from everyone. Even the messaging company cannot decipher the data you send.
But authorities dislike this system as they have no way to read messages, view photos or listen to conversations even if they suspect criminal activity.
RISKS OF END-TO-END ENCRYPTION
The UK campaign focuses on potential dangers to children. A spokesperson for the campaign, called No Place to Hide, says engaging E2EE is “losing the ability to detect those who abuse children online.”
They say the police won’t be able to read any messages that abusers can send to children via Facebook Messenger.
“We are calling on social media platforms to make a commitment that they will only engage end-to-end encryption when they have the technology to prevent children from being compromised as a result,” a campaign spokesperson said. said.
According to the U.S. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), 21.7 million reports were received in 2020 that content showing child sexual abuse was shared on social media.
Opponents say that 14 million of these reports would not be received if end-to-end encryption was more widely used.
They also want to work with tech companies to find solutions to protect children and privacy at the same time.