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November 13, 2023

Meta faces renewed criticism over end-to-end encryption amid child safety fears

  • Simon Bailey, a former police chief constable who was national lead for child protection at the National Police Chiefs’ Council accused Meta of a “complete loss of social and moral responsibility” over the plans.
  • The comments came after head of the National Crime Agency Graeme Biggar said introducing end-to-end encryption on Facebook would be like “consciously turning a blind eye to child abuse”.
  • Meta responded by saying it has robust measures in place to combat child abuse and it expects to make more reports to law enforcement after this encryption is brought in.
  • However, Mr Bailey reported that he had seen the scale of online sexual abuse grow, and has seen “big tech companies, like Meta, absolve themselves of any responsibility when it comes to tackling online child sexual abuse”.
  • For more, please visit the Shropshire Star website.

Third of teenagers have seen real-life violence on TikTok, research suggests 

  • A poll of 7,500 13 to 17-year-olds for Home Office-backed charity the Youth Endowment Fund found a quarter had seen similar material on Snapchat, 20% on YouTube and 19% on Instagram.
  • John Yates, executive director at the Youth Endowment Fund reported: “Social media companies need to wake up. It is completely unacceptable to promote violent content to children.”
  • A TikTok spokesperson responded, stating they remove or age-restrict content that is violent or graphic, most often before it receives a single view, and provides parents with tools to further customise content and safety settings for their teens’ account.”
  • Snapchat also responded, with a spokesperson commenting that they encourage anyone who sees violent content to report it and that they will work with law enforcement, NGOs and safety expert to create a safe environment.
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

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Violence fears make children miss school, youth survey suggests

  • Research from the Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) found that a survey of over 7,500 children indicate 16% of children aged 13-17 have been a victim of violence.
  • The children’s commissioner reported that knife crime and violence was the “number one issue” raised by young people.
  • Of the 7,574 who responded, 1,533 (20%) had skipped school at some point in the last year due to feeling unsafe. Department for Education data shows state-funded secondary schools had an overall absence rate of 8.5% in the 2022-23 spring term.
  • Chief Constable Catherine Roper, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for children and young people said that the organisation was working with YEF on a study to evaluate the use of police in schools.
  • A government spokesperson reported that “nothing is more important than the safety of children”.
  • They stated that schools in areas with the most serious violence were also getting funding for alternative provision and taskforces to support at-risk pupils, with the aim of keeping them engaged in education.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

England stop and search pilot scheme does not cut violence, thinktank finds

  • The review of evidence on stop and search and serious violence reduction orders (SVROS) by the racial equality thinktank Runnymede Trust, found that conducting stop and search without having grounds for suspicion does not work to reduce serious violence and disproportionately targets people of colour.
  • SVROs were introduced as a pilot under the Police Crime Sentencing and Courts Act 2022.
  • Dr Tim Head, an author of the report and a criminology lecturer at the University of Essex stated: “the vast majority of rigorous evidence on SVROs points towards a single conclusion: high-discretion police stop interventions like this do not ‘work’,… Instead, they produce harm, anxiety and misery among the communities they purport to ‘protect’.”
  • A report by the Home Office last year showed that people from Black, Asian and other minority ethnic backgrounds were likely to be targeted under relaxed stop and search rules, despite not having committed crimes.
  • It also highlighted the detrimental effects on mental and physical health of those targeted and called for the SVRO pilot to be scrapped.
  • For more, please visit The Guardian website.