Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, Meta, is reportedly delaying the integration of end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in Messenger and Instagram until 2023.
The move comes after fears raised by child safety advocates that end-to-end encryption will shield abusers from detection.
Priti Patel, the UK’s home secretary, called the move “very unacceptable.”
While WhatsApp already has end-to-end encryption, Messenger and Instagram can be manually configured to use E2EE to send messages. The feature, however, is not enabled by default.
According to Antigone Davis, Head of Safety at Meta, the delay is due to user safety concerns, as reported by The Telegraph.
As per Davis, Meta’s responsibility is to safeguard the security of its users, and the company aims to “get this right.” According to Davis, the feature should not obstruct the investigation or halt any illicit activity.
Davis claims that once end-to-end encryption is enabled for Messenger and Instagram, the business would do its best to keep users safe by “combining non-encrypted data across apps, account information, and user reports.”
Meta previously said that the default E2EE integration would happen “at the earliest in 2022.” However, owing to campaigning pressure, the rollout has been postponed until 2023.
Last year, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, and Japan followed the United States in granting local law enforcement agencies and authorities backdoor encryption access to examine any encrypted conversations and files if a warrant was issued.
In 2023, the United Kingdom’s Online Safety Bill will take effect, making it mandatory for online websites and platforms to protect children by allowing them to report abusive content.