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India join and supports UK-led campaign against encrypted social media messages

The 7 signatories of the international statement have made it extremely clear that when end-to-end encryption is applied with no access to the content online, it undermines the companies' ability to take action against any form of illegal activity on their own platforms.

Oct 15, 2020 14:41 IST
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India and seven other countries have decided to back a UK-led campaign against the end-to-end encryption of the social media messages by giants such as Facebook which hinders law enforcement by blocking all the access to them.

The United Kingdom and India have been joined by Canada, United States, New Zealand, Japan, and Australia in a joint statement that was addressed to all the tech companies to ensure that they must not blind themselves from the illegal activities on their platforms, including child abuse images.

This move marks an expansion of the ‘five eyes’ group of nations which is a global alliance on the intelligence issues, to include Japan and India.

What does the statement to tech companies entail?

The statement, while directing at all the tech firms makes a reference to the fact that the population of the 7 countries who have signed the statement represents a fifth of Facebook’s users all over the world. It clearly claims that end to end encryption policies that have been employed by social media giants erode the public’s safety online.

The 7 signatories of the international statement have made it extremely clear that when end-to-end encryption is applied with no access to the content online, it undermines the companies' ability to take action against any form of illegal activity on their own platforms.

How does the statement suggest tech companies to ensure users safety?

The international statement also calls on the tech companies to ensure that there is no reduction in the safety of users when designing their encrypted services and to enable law enforcement access to the content where it is required and to work with the government to facilitate this.

The United Kingdom and its international partners have been clear that they are in support of the strong encryption but not in a way where it precludes all the legal access to the content, therefore putting users at the risk of harm.

The purpose behind the campaign against encrypted social media messages:

Priti Patel, UK Home Secretary while referring to the statement which was issued on October 11, 2020, stated that we owe it to all of our citizens, especially children, to ensure their safety by working to unmask terrorists and sexual predators who have been operating online.

She further noted that it is important that the tech companies do not turn a blind eye to this gruesome problem and hamper their as well as law enforcement’s ability of tackling these sickening criminal acts. The countries that have joined the campaign have urged all the tech companies to work with us to find a solution that will put public safety first.

Facebook on the question of end-to-end encryption:

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company has long argued that end-to-end encryption is necessary in order to protect people’s most private information as in all of these countries users prefer end-to-end encrypted messaging on various apps as it keeps their messages safe from criminals, hackers, and foreign interference.

Facebook has also led the industry in developing new ways that will help to prevent, detect, and respond to any form of abuse while maintaining high security.

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