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Here’s Why Element says diluting encryption cannot help prevent child abuse online

Element in a blog post explained how Chapter 5 Clause 111 of the UK Online Safety Bill can lead to “mass surveillance” but won’t prevent child abuse online

What’s the news: Undermining end-to-end encryption will not have any impact on addressing child abuse, said messaging app Element, which uses end-to-end (E2E) encryption, in response to the progress of the UK Online Safety Bill in the country’s Parliament. Why it matters: This is the second time Element has publicly objected to the abovementioned Bill. Alongside other messenger apps like WhatsApp, Signal, Threema, etc., Element’s objection is against Chapter 5 Clause 111 (previously Clause 110) of the Bill which can lead to "mass surveillance." It allegedly forces providers “to embed some form of third-party scanning software to identify potentially illegal content in private communications.” According to the company, providers of E2E encrypted communications should be exempt from such notices but so far there is nothing in the Bill saying so. Now, Element’s Matthew Hodgson in this latest statement breaks down why dilution of E2E measures is also unlikely to help prevent child abuse online. Element’s arguments on why surveillance won’t address child abuse: Bill is incompatible with E2E: The Bill talks of using ‘accredited technology’ to prove that such measures for backdoors are “fine, secure and appropriate.” However, Element argued that the requirements for this type of technology are impossible to achieve without undermining E2E encryption. Ofcom’s codes of practice on how these notices will be used will only be defined in detail after the bill has passed (albeit within the framework defined by clause 112). Accredited tech provisions might help offenders instead: Any form of scanning introduces a weakness…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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