How end to end encryption threatens children’s safety online

Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England, has published a report, “Access Denied: How end to end encryption threatens children’s safety online”:

The report looks at children’s use of private messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The study suggests that millions of children in England are using messaging platforms that they are not old enough to be accessing. The report comes following announcements by Facebook, and indications by other platforms such as Snap, that they plan to apply end-to-end encryption to all their messaging services. End-to-end encryption makes it impossible for the platform itself to read the contents of messages, and risks preventing police and prosecutors from gathering the evidence they need to prosecute perpetrators of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

The report includes a survey revealing the extent of children’s use of messaging services, including by children much younger than the minimum age requirement.