The British government is preparing a public relations blitz against end-to-end encryption
Meta recently said it would implement end-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger and Instagram by 2023, despite strong opposition from governments in the UK and elsewhere. However, the UK Home Office is reportedly planning an advertising campaign to mobilize public opinion against end-to-end encryption using what critics have called ‘scaremonger’ tactics, according to a report by rolling stone.
The UK government plans to team up with charities and law enforcement agencies in a public relations blitz created by advertising agency M&C Saatchi, the report said. The aim of the campaign is to relay the message that end-to-end encryption could hamper efforts to combat online child exploitation.
“We engaged M&C Saatchi to bring together the many organizations that share our concerns about the impact end-to-end encryption would have on our ability to keep children safe,” a Home Office spokesperson said. . rolling stone in a report. The government has allocated £534,000 ($730,500) for the blitz, according to a letter sent by the Home Office in response to a freedom of information request.
The campaign may include elements designed to make the public “uncomfortable,” according to a slideshow designed to help them recruit nonprofit coalition partners. This includes a proposed stunt with adult and child actors placed in a glass box as it fades to black. It also involves a “social media activation where we ask parents to write to Mark [Zuckerberg] through their Facebook status.”
One slide noted that “most of the public have never heard of” end-to-end encryption, meaning they can “be easily swayed” on the subject. It also states that the government “must not enter into a debate about privacy versus security.”
Privacy advocates called the plans “scaremongering” and said a lack of end-to-end encryption could have the intended opposite effect. “Without strong encryption, children are more vulnerable than ever online. Encryption protects personal safety and national security…what the government is proposing puts everyone at risk,” said Robin Wilton of the Internet Society. rolling stone.
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