Home Office warns Facebooks plans to encrypt messages would protect the most serious of criminals


FACEBOOK plans to encrypt all messages on its platforms will give free rein to the worst criminals, the Home Office warned yesterday.

The tech giant is considering introducing end-to-end encryption to Messenger and Instagram Direct just like WhatsApp so only the sender and recipient knows what is said.

Facebook’s plans would mean that only the sender and receiver would be able to access the messages

It would have meant 26million pieces of terrorist material going hidden instead of being flagged up between October 2017 and March this year.

And an estimated 12million reports relating to child sex abuse would be lost every year.

Last year they led to more than 2,500 UK arrests and the safeguarding of nearly 3,000 children.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said access to Facebook and Instagram messages were vital to avoiding those children are not abused, raped and degraded in the future.

Law enforcement agencies would also lose access to terror content – with 26 million pieces of terrorist material acted upon between October 2017 and March 2019 alone.

Yesterday the Home Office submitted 15 pages of detailed evidence to a US Senate Judiciary Committee and told of its grave concerns.

Last night Priti Patel said: This testimony lays out the UK Governments position clearly, factually and dismantles the myths and misconceptions peddled to prevent proper debate.

Yesterday Britain stepped up its battle with the American social media giant – submitting detailed evidence to a US Senate Judiciary Committee warning that it will prevent law enforcement agencies from accessing criminal material.

The Home Office said it had “grave concerns” with the plans and rejected claims from Facebook that the UK Government wants a “backdoor” into encrypted messages across its platforms.