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UK’s Home Secretary launches new campaign, complaining UK spies should have access to citizens’ private messages

Civil liberties in a tailspin.

UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel will support yet another campaign aimed at weakening encryption online, this one taking aim at Facebook’s plans for its messaging services.

End-to-end encryption, which Facebook has promised to implement across these services, including voice and video calls on Facebook Messenger, have some politicians and UK law enforcement up in arms.

They are once again vilifying encryption, which allows users privacy and security and keeps third parties, including the companies that provide the apps, out of their communications, as essentially little else but enablers of such crimes as terrorism and child abuse.

Patel is staying true to her previously held stance on this issue, as this official has already warned Facebook it could face fines if the MI5 spies are not given access to people’s messages.

She and the anti-encryption campaigners are equating Facebook’s policy on end-to-end encryption to “blindfolding” the police, who apparently cannot do their job unless they have unlimited access to personal communication. However, many cases of terrorism over the years have shown that law enforcement in various countries already have sufficient tools at their disposal, but are not using them successfully.

Patel will now support a number of upcoming ad campaigns that will attack Facebook over encryption, whose goal is to sway the public opinion and convince people it is in their best interest to be subjected to often unaccountable and opaque mass spying by the state.

The Times reported that the campaign has been created by the marketing giant M&C Saatchi, while those behind it are presenting themselves as a coalition of charities, with the “think of the children” type of argument looking to be the main message and the focus of the push.

Facebook, on the other hand, is trying to get rid of some of the extremely negative image it has for undermining its users’ privacy, by now introducing the new features to the messaging services. But the opponents are choosing to denounce the decision using extremely strong and alarmist language, with UK’s anti-terrorist cyber police chief Kevin Southworth saying it would “unequivocally put lives at risk.”

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