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The fight against Britain’s paedophile gangs – and why it’s getting harder | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey

Last week, Apple echoed these concerns, arguing the bill posed a serious threat to the privacy provided by encryption and calling for an amendment to the law.

Sexton says the debate has grown “very unhelpful and very frustrating”.

“Our worry is at some point these children might just say, ‘Well there’s no point reporting it’,” he says.

The IWF engineer argues that it is within the gift of tech companies to stop abuse spreading, claiming they already run some checks on encrypted messaging apps for viruses and scam links.

WhatsApp insists these checks are very different from tools that scan images and videos, and no data is sent to third party servers or shared with law enforcement.

“The overwhelming majority of Brits already rely on apps that use encryption to keep them safe from hackers, fraudsters and criminals,” a spokesman for Meta says.

“We don’t think people want us reading their private messages so have developed safety measures that prevent, detect and allow us to take action against this heinous abuse, while maintaining online privacy and security.”

Apple and Meta are both members of the IWF and each has donated to the group, as have Amazon, Google and TikTok. Sexton says the foundation aims to “support all these companies to find a solution”.

Still, the IWF and many of its funders appear increasingly at odds over encryption.

“It’s letting children down,” Sexton says.

“They’re directly asking those platforms: ‘Please stop this image being distributed.’ And they can do it.

“It’s just a false choice to say someone else’s privacy is more important than those children’s dignity and their privacy.”


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National Cyber Security