Bill targeting online child abuse puts encryption in crosshairs


Major online services would be forced to do more to help fight online child exploitation or lose liability protection under a bi
Major online services would be forced to do more to help fight online child exploitation or lose liability protection under a bill unveiled by senators and assailed by digital rights activists

A bill aimed at curbing online child sex abuse is pitting the US government against the tech sector, in a battle about encryption and liability for illegal online content.

The bipartisan measure unveiled by US senators Thursday ties together two separate issues—law enforcement’s access to encrypted online content, and tech platforms’ legal immunity for what users post.

In unveiling the measure, senators said they were aiming to curb images of child sex abuse by forcing tech platforms to cooperate with law enforcement on encryption or risk losing the legal immunity for what is posted on their websites.

Digital rights activists have joined the tech sector in arguing this move is an indirect way to weaken online encryption in the name of better law enforcement access.

They say it erodes two cornerstones of the online ecosystem: strong encryption to keep data secure, and a liability shield which enables social media platforms to allow users to post content freely.

The bill “would give government officials unprecedented powers to craft de facto regulations for online speech,” said Emma Llanso of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a digital rights organization.

“Online service providers would almost certainly err on the side of caution and take down anything—including a lot of lawful, constitutionally protected speech.”

Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (L) are sponsoring a bill that would force te
Republican US Senator Lindsey Graham (R) and Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal (L) are sponsoring a bill that would force tech firms to do more to help fight child exploitation, which critics say would erode digital rights

‘Kneecapping’ encryption

Encryption has been a point of contention between tech firms and law enforcement for decades. FBI officials have warned of “going dark” in investigating crimes as a result of new forms of end-to-end encryption, while civil rights advocates warn that any “backdoor” access could be exploited by hackers and authoritarian governments.

The proposal “aims to kneecap encryption under the guise of protecting children online, while capitalizing on the techlash,” said Riana Pfefferkorn of the Stanford University Center for Internet and Society, referring to the simmering discontent with Big Tech over data protection and other issues.

Lawmakers say the bill—Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT)—allows companies to “earn” their liability protection, by gaining certification of compliance by a commission of government, industry, legal and victim group representatives.

A hearing is set for Wednesday on the measure, which is backed by victims’ rights organizations.

They, along with the Justice Department, have complained that existing laws protecting platforms such as social media companies from liability for user-posted content have allowed child pornography and images of exploitation to proliferate.

US Attorney General Bill Barr has said encryption of data on phones and messaging apps makes it harder to catch criminals and th
US Attorney General Bill Barr has said encryption of data on phones and messaging apps makes it harder to catch criminals and thwart exploitation

‘Shouldn’t need a pass’

Critics say the bill, if enacted, could lead to draconian internet regulation.

“You shouldn’t need to get a pass from a commission of law enforcement agencies just to set up a website,” said Joe Mullin of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“That’s the type of system we might hear about under an authoritarian regime.”

Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group including hundreds of online firms, said the bill “sets up the false choice between child safety and internet safety.”

Shapiro said in a blog post that the proposed law would not stop the use of encryption but “penalize American companies by forcing those interested in secure communication to move their business to offshore companies not governed by US law.”

Proposed US legislation aims to encourage firms to do more to curb the spread of content related to child sex abuse, but critics
Proposed US legislation aims to encourage firms to do more to curb the spread of content related to child sex abuse, but critics say it would do little

Full implications unclear

Eric Goldman, director of Santa Clara University’s High Tech Law Institute, said authorities are already unable to investigate the vast number of potential sex exploitation cases flagged by tech firms.

“The core presumption of the bill is that companies aren’t doing enough,” Goldman said. “I don’t think that’s true. They treat this as the most toxic and most problematic kind of content.”

The full implications of the bill remain unclear because standards would be set by a commission that would be created by lawmakers, Goldman said, adding that the panel could call for strict bans on encrypted apps or verification of the identity of all internet users, for example.

“There is no limit to the perniciousness of the recommendations,” he said.

WhatsApp defends encryption as it tops 2 billion users

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about your kids’ safety on the internet

Internet safety is a big deal for parents. If you have kids, you know how important it is to keep them safe online and out of harm’s way. But with so many sites, apps, and devices available to children these days, it can be hard to figure out which ones are safe! This blog post will give you the top ten safest websites for kids so that your child can enjoy exploring the internet without any worries. So go ahead and click through our list below!

Far more than a 3rd of kids say they come across it a lot easier to be on their own on line than offline, in accordance to a new survey. Thirty-8 for every cent claimed they see the internet as a harmless area to investigate and improve, increasing to 54 per cent for youthful people with disabilities.

A lot of expressed problems about the conduct of other buyers and the have to have to develop more accounts to protect them selves, having said that.

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Sharing the whole story, not just the headlines

Virtually half (47 for every cent) of eight to 17-calendar year-olds surveyed stated that they feel it is vital to “fit in” on-line, although 61 per cent consider the online puts pressure on individuals to appear best.

The examine, which coincides with Safer Internet Working day – an once-a-year observance which aims to elevate awareness of rising on line concerns – saw 2,001 younger people today polled by the British isles Safer World-wide-web Centre.

Read More:- vulnerable to manipulation in US election

On line platforms face developing tension to guard vulnerable men and women on the internet.

The All Occasion Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Media and Young People’s Mental Health has reported that even though social media has the prospective to positively effect younger people’s lives, detrimental results consist of isolating young people suffering from psychological ill overall health, exposing them to on-line bullying and influencing self-esteem and human body impression.

This is significantly acute for women and young females.

A Younger Persons’ Constitution is to be offered to pretty much 40 MPs and federal government officers in Westminster on Tuesday.

It consists of a record of requests from youthful men and women about making the net a a lot more inclusive area, these types of as rising on the net security and marketplace accountability.

One in seven of the youthful people polled explained it was simple for people to be abusive online, primary 62 per cent to be cautious about what they share.

Even with this, just about fifty percent (49 for every cent) imagine the world-wide-web contributes to their identity and helps them come to feel a lot less by itself.


Will Gardner, director of the British isles Safer Online Centre, reported whilst the internet holds quite a few optimistic experiences for children, it was vital to admit “the pressures, worries and limits” it can bring.

“It is so significant for all of us – grownups, businesses, and federal government – to assist younger persons to harness the world-wide-web for superior and make it a location in which all people is free of charge to be on their own,” he reported.

Home secretary Priti Patel said: “Used safely and securely, the web can play an crucial job in young people’s advancement.

”But social media providers ought to be held accountable for preserving their users from harms on their platforms, like grooming, hate crime, and terrorist content,” she mentioned.

“That is precisely why we are doing work on laws to make the United kingdom the most secure position in the planet to be online.


vulnerable to manipulation in US election

The US election is coming up and Americans are deeply divided. One side believes that the system is rigged, while the other thinks it’s a conspiracy theory. What both sides agree on is that they’re vulnerable to manipulation in this process of democracy. We can’t let fear or anger control us when we only have one vote for every American. It’s our responsibility to educate ourselves on what’s going on so we don’t make uninformed decisions about who should lead our country into the future.

Center-aged gals in California could see a picture of Trump pointing to a group, with a plea for them to give “any sum” to the campaign.

Right before Election Working day, politicians are expected to invest additional than $1 billion to pelt voters with millions of these cheap on the internet adverts, which can be tailored to a voter’s most personalized details—down to a single house or even a one person.

Gurus warn that this advert-targeting technique is still susceptible to manipulation by international governments and domestic grifters attempting to influence the election, just as they did in 2016. Those people makes an attempt could become additional subtle this year as tech firms wrestle with a dysfunctional federal election watchdog agency and deploy haphazard safeguards that still offer loads of loopholes.

“There is now so considerably money and attention put in on the internet with so couple regulations that if you wished chaos, that is the place to go for chaos,” claimed David Karpf, a political communications professor at The George Washington College. “And there’s a bunch of people who want chaos.”

Russia-linked accounts used just $100,000 on Fb ads in the course of the 2016 presidential election to supporter division on polarizing issues these kinds of as gun command and race relations. That’s a fraction of the charge of a solitary 30-2nd spot on a main Tv set community.

But it was enough to stir up hassle. In response, Google, Fb and Twitter instituted verification procedures that require advertisers to confirm their identification making use of their organization’s tax identification quantity or other government ID. Twitter afterwards banned all political ads.

Read More:- social network understands every thing

“Microtargeting” authorized the divisive messages to attain smaller pockets of voters in specified geographical locations based on their particular passions.

Google this thirty day period commenced restricting U.S. advertisers’ potential to concentrate on political advertisements outside of wide classes this sort of as sex, age and postal code. Facebook will continue on to allow for strategies to goal voters for any reason, down to their most personal pursuits.

These kinds of focusing on technologies features unique advantages.

A candidate running a Tv place may well attain a precise viewers watching the present “The Actual Housewives of Atlanta.” But on Facebook that identical candidate can run a specific ad aimed at Atlanta housewives who lean moderate, like to hunt and maintain a master’s degree, for instance.

In Texas, for example, Republican strategist Chris Wilson claimed his polling found suburban women ended up annoyed by pink-light cameras, so he qualified 1000’s of them on Facebook with ads promising that his shopper GOP Gov. Greg Abbott would abolish the cameras if elected to a second phrase in 2018.

Abbott won and signed a legislation previous summer months banning pink-light-weight cameras in the state. Wilson argues that microtargeting aids to mobilize voters about selected challenges.

Google and Fb have spent several years collecting troves of facts that now enable strategies persuade voters, claimed Luca Cian, a professor at the Darden School of Business who focuses on how internet marketing impacts political campaigns.

“I can specify that a person man or woman in 1 particular residence should see a certain advert,” he stated. “And their neighbor could see a different advertisement.”

It’s not just campaigns operating advertisements. With the click of a button and a handful of hundred bucks, regular individuals or companies can now obtain political adverts that are directed at unique teams of men and women to see.

The sheer volume of adverts can make it approximately not possible to keep track of them.

“How does any individual even get started to consider and continue to keep up and monitor tens of hundreds … or probably thousands and thousands of adverts?” requested Ellen Weintraub, chairwoman of the Federal Elections Fee, the taxpayer-funded watchdog agency that creates and enforces principles for federal campaigns.

Which is a challenge for journalists in search of to hold politicians accountable and for opposing candidates who could unwittingly be highlighted in an attack advertisement by political rivals.

In approximately just about every type of race—from town council candidates to the presidential election—campaigns could struggle to place wrong promises running about their prospect on the internet, claimed Democratic marketing campaign guide Jared Kamrass.

“If a unfavorable ad is run from my prospect on electronic, I pretty much have no way of knowing about it except someone screenshots it,” Kamrass stated.

Because the very last presidential election, tech corporations have regarded as a lot of questions: Need to they allow political advertisements at all? Point-check out them? Catalog them in a public databases? Stop them from getting qualified to smaller teams of people?

US election

Some corporations adopted their own principles for political advertisements. Twitter, which designed very little funds off the adverts, took the most radical action. In November, CEO Jack Dorsey announced the website would reject all political ads from its platform around the world.

The tech providers have been remaining to regulate by themselves, in section, simply because the FEC has been gridlocked for many years above procedures that would be personalized to the booming on-line political ad industry. The agency is without having a total set of leaders and does not have a quorum wanted to take into consideration new rules for adverts or to penalize campaigns for violating the regulation.

“We finish up in sort of the messy point out we are in when your regulators stop regulating and there’s a ton of revenue in the method,” Karpf additional. “Of study course that’s heading to end up likely haywire.”

Facebook has trapped to its plan of prohibiting third-party fact checkers from ranking political adverts as false, despite popular criticism from politicians such as Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

The social network has acknowledged that the tools aren’t ideal. Sarah Schiff, a Facebook product supervisor, claimed the objective is to make it “a lot more complicated” for poor actors to misuse the platform.

Even smaller sized platforms, which includes TikTok and Pinterest, have been forced to confront the challenge by banning political adverts solely, as has the Microsoft-owned LinkedIn. But none of those people principles is foolproof.

Experts say political strategies, international federal government and trolls will proceed to thrust the boundaries, testing to see which messages, pictures or video clips resonate with potential voters based mostly on their knowledge.

“For democracy to perform, you will need a popular actuality, which means a common understanding of who’s expressing what when,” stated Daniel G. Newman, the president of MapLight, a nonprofit that tracks political income, lobbying and votes. “But when politicians are declaring distinctive things to distinct audiences, even hundreds of different little audiences, you will find an incapacity to hold them accountable.”

Fb once more refuses to ban political adverts, even fake ones

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