Facebook is moving ahead with plans to implement end to end encryption on Facebook Messenger and Instagram to protect users from snoopers, censors, spammers, scammers and thieves.
But children's campaign groups are opposing these safety measures on
the grounds the encryption will also protect those illegally distributing child abuse material.
About 100 organisations, led by the NSPCC, have signed an open letter warning the plans will undermine efforts to catch abusers.
Home Secretary Priti
Patel said she fully supported the move, presumably also thinking of the state's wider remit to snoop on people's communications.
End-to-end encryption, already used on Facebook-owned WhatsApp, means no-one, including the company that owns the
platform, can see the content of sent messages. The technology will make it significantly less likely that hackers will be able to intercept messages, going a long way to protect users from phishing and cyber-stalking. And of course child internet users
will also benefit from these protections.
The campaign group opposed such protection arguing:
We urge you to recognise and accept that an increased risk of child abuse being facilitated on or by Facebook is not a
reasonable trade-off to make.
A spokesman for Facebook said protecting the wellbeing of children on its platform was critically important to it. He said:
We have led the industry in safeguarding
children from exploitation and we are bringing this same commitment and leadership to our work on encryption
We are working closely with child-safety experts, including NCMEC [the US National Center for Missing and Exploited
Children], law enforcement, governments and other technology companies, to help keep children safe online.
In 2018, Facebook made 16.8 million reports of child sexual exploitation and abuse content to the NCMEC. The National Crime Agency
said this had led to more than 2,500 arrests and 3,000 children made safe.
A queer porn film festival in London this weekend was forced to relocate after protests by aggressive feminists.
Faced with the prospect of a picket, organisers of the festival, which describes itself as celebrating queer, feminist, radical and
experimental porn, pulled screenings from the Horse Hospital, an arts venue in Bloomsbury. The three-day event was instead be held at a new location disclosed only to ticket holders.
Despite the festival's progressive intentions, multiple
complaints about the festival had earlier been made to Camden council.
Janice Williams, chair of the activist group Object , clamed the films on show promoted degradation and oppression. In a letter to Camden council, Williams singled
out a festival strand titled Sex Work Is Work claiming the festival was to show extreme pornographic images and pornography that is likely to result in serious injury to the performers.
Festival organiser Rude Jude responded:
These are not violent or extreme in the legal definition,Some of the films show practices that some people aren't into, but that is very different.
Meanwhile the coordinators of a separate pressure
group, Women Against Pornography , spouted:
Feminist pornography is an oxymoron -- feminism is not about individualistic wishes or desires, it is about liberating all women from the oppression of males. This can
never be achieved by being tied up in a bed or by telling women that torture will make them free.
Nimue Allen, whose film Fisting Fun was shown as part of the Brazen Brits strand on Friday, says the festival has proved an
inspiration for performers. Festivals like this are so important to show that there are alternatives to the mainstream porn -- Centring people of colour, trans performers, queer sex of all types -- and allowing people to see themselves represented on
screen -- is something that needs to be done so much more often.
Offsite Comment: Progressive Porn Vs Regressive Feminists
Censors and moralisers continually succeed not just because politicians of all stripes are by nature morally conservative and stiff-lipped, and because the media is full of people who love to whip up moral panics to increase sales. By David Flint