UK Gov Plans Publicity Blitz to Undermine Privacy of Your Chats


The Home Office has hired a high-end ad agency to mobilize public opinion against encrypted communications — with plans that include some shockingly manipulative tactics.

The UK government is set to launch a multi-pronged publicity attack on end-to-end encryption, Rolling Stone has learned. One key objective: mobilizing public opinion against Facebook’s decision to encrypt its Messenger app.

Successive Home Secretaries of different political parties have taken strong anti-encryption stances, claiming the technology — which is essential for online privacy and security — will diminish the effectiveness of UK bulk surveillance capabilities, make fighting organized crime more difficult, and hamper the ability to stop terror attacks. The American FBI has made similar arguments in recent years — claims which have been widely debunked by technologists and civil libertarians on both sides of the Atlantic.

The new campaign, however, is entirely focused on the argument that improved encryption would hamper efforts to tackle child exploitation online. A presentation attributed to M&C Saatchi notes that “some messaging platforms, including WhatsApp” already use end-to-end encryption, but want to oppose its extension.

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