CAPS calls on Facebook to help protect our kids

Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS)

The Child Abuse Prevention Service (CAPS) is part of a coalition of child protection organisations and academics from over 100 nations calling on Facebook to make the safety of children online its highest priority.

In a letter sent today to Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, CAPS expressed deep concerns about the company’s proposal to implement end-to-end encryption across its messaging services. While CAPS appreciates the need for robust mechanisms to protect user data, it is feared that end to end encryption will conceal the efforts of paedophiles to contact children online and make it more difficult for law enforcement to investigate potential crimes.

CAPS CEO, Tracy McLeod Howe, stated that “With the recent Westpac scandal, we have seen how big companies need to be more vigilant in their efforts to recognise and report any online transactions or messages that may be linked to the exploitation of children”.

“Though I commend Facebook for its ongoing efforts to report the grooming of children and trafficking of abuse material, I fear that the proposed encryption measures will only embolden sexual predators to continue their harmful behaviour without fear of reprisal”.

CAPS and its fellow international coalition members want Facebook to hold off on the implementation of end to end encryption until we can be sure that there are no new risks to children’s safety, or that the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute offenders is not hindered in any way.

Ms McLeod Howe further stated that “We would be pleased to work with Facebook here in Australia to ensure that the proposed encryption measures do not compromise law enforcement’s ability to bring local abusers to justice for their terrible crimes”.

/Public Release.