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Ofcom to get more powers over tech groups in online safety drive

Authorities in the UK will be given the power to order technology companies to redesign their platforms and impose fines if they fail to control child sexual abuse material under new online safety legislation.

The rules will focus on end-to-end encrypted platforms, where messages can only be viewed by the sender and recipient, who are under increasing political pressure to give governments and law enforcement agencies access to content, including messages, images and videos.

The Interior Ministry announced on Wednesday the amendment to the online safety bill, which allows communications regulator Ofcom to promote £ 18 million or 10% of technology companies’ annual turnover, whichever is higher, if they do not meet standards for protecting children who are not yet there. .

Under the proposals, it would be possible to allow the regulator to order technology companies to install software that has not yet been developed on encrypted platforms, or to develop their own technologies for detecting inappropriate material.

The move comes as technology companies seek to strike a balance between maintaining the privacy of their users’ data while protecting vulnerable users, while working with law enforcement and legislators unable to view content on encrypted platforms.

Apple has already tried Introduce scanning software to crack harmful images of child sexual abuse but forced Row backwards After a harsh response from privacy advocates last year.

Meanwhile, Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has pledged to enable end-to-end encryption in Facebook Messenger, something the Interior Ministry and charities have already done Pressed against In the name of child safety.

In a public submission to the law committee last month, the company said it had concerns about how Ofcom’s ability to require scanning messages to detect inappropriate material would work. “It is not clear how this will be enabled in an encrypted messaging service, and will have significant implications for the privacy, security and safety of users,” wrote Richard Early, Meta UK’s Director of Public Policy.

Under the legislation, Ofcom will decide whether the platforms do enough to prevent, identify and remove explicit material, and whether it is necessary and proportionate to ask the platforms to change their products.

“Privacy and security do not contradict each other – we need both, and we can have both and that is what this amendment provides,” said Interior Secretary Patel Patel.

The government has awarded five projects across the UK more than £ 550,000 to develop technologies to stop the spread of child abuse material, which platforms could be instructed to use in their products in the future.

These include external software that can be integrated into existing encrypted platforms, as well as age verification technology that can be used before consumers access encrypted services.

Data released by the Children’s Charity, NSPCC on Wednesday, showed that online grooming crimes have soared more than 80% in four years in the UK and currently average around 120 offenses a week.

Meta-owned platforms were used in 38% of the cases where the media was known and in Snapchat in 33%.

Ofcom to get more powers over tech groups in online safety drive Source link Ofcom to get more powers over tech groups in online safety drive

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