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December 13, 2023

Rise of AI images ‘reducing trust’ in what people see online, charity warns 

  • Full Fact reported that the increase in misleading images circulating online, and being shared by thousands, highlights how many people struggle to spot these images.
  • The organisation has expressed concerns surrounding the adequacy of the Online Safety Act in combatting harmful misinformation on the internet, including AI-generated content.
  • The charity has called on the Government to increase media literacy funding to teach the public to better identify fake content.
  • It also says the volume of manipulated content could have an impact on the availability of good information online by flooding search results.
  • A Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the threat digitally manipulated content can pose, which is why we have ensured the Act, among the first of its kind anywhere in the world, is future proofed for issues like this. Under our new law, platforms will be required to swiftly remove manipulated content when it is illegal or breaches their terms of service – including user-generated content using AI. Failure to comply with these duties under the Act will incur severe fines.”
  • They stated that the government is “investing to support projects developing media literacy skills, including several projects specifically designed to build resilience to false information.”
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

NPCC warns Meta’s roll-out of end-to-end-encryption ‘putting safety of children at risk’ 

  • Meta has announced that end-to-end encryption will now be present by default in Messenger and Facebook.
  • The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC)says Facebook has a “hugely positive” record of working with law enforcement in the UK and worldwide to protect children from sex offenders.
  • However, the NPCC says this relationship is now being put at risk, as end-to-end encryption will “blind it to these horrific crimes taking place on its platform.”
  • The NPCC lead for child protection, abuse and investigation, Ian Critchley reported: “the introduction of Meta’s new end-to-end encryption (E2EE) will have a dangerous impact on child safety. Meta will no longer be able to see messages from online groomers which contain child sexual abuse material and therefore they won’t be able to refer it to the police.”
  • He continued: “I am also confident that OFCOM as the regulator of the Online Safety Act will ensure that Meta are held to account for child sexual abuse material being distributed on their platforms without the required and necessary safeguards being in place that E2EE will severely reduce.”
  • The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) said it is “outraged” at Meta’s “catastrophic” decision to roll out end-to-end encryption, which it says will allow illegal and harmful content to spread undetected on its platforms.
  • Susie Hargreaves OBE, chief executive of the IWF, said: “We are outraged Meta has chosen to prioritise the privacy of paedophiles over the safety of our children. We strongly urge other platforms not to follow this dreadful example.”
  • For more, please visit the Police Professional website.

The following stories may be regionalised:

One in four Scots children not reaching primary school standards 

  • More than one in four Scottish state primary schools are not achieving the literacy levels expected of them, their teachers’ assessments show.
  • One in five are not reaching the numeracy levels expected by their teachers either.
  • However, Scottish government Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth, insisted there was a “clear rise in standards.”
  • The Pisa report, which measures education standards among 15-year-olds worldwide, showed a long-term decline in Scotland’s performance in reading, maths and science.
  • In response, Scottish ministers said Covid restrictions had a “profound impact” on education.
  • Cllr Tony Buchanan, children’s spokesman for the council’s umbrella body Cosla, said improvements had been made “despite the backdrop of severe and increasing pressure on local budgets and recruitment challenges.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Eton and Wellington among schools calling for better mental health support for pupils 

  • The private schools have joined forces with other independent and state schools to raise the alarm about the “mental health epidemic” since Covid school closures.
  • In a joint statement they said: “The state of mental health provision in our country has reached a tipping point.”
  • The Coalition for Youth Mental Health in Schools, which counts Eton and Wellington among its members as well as successful academy chains, said vulnerable pupils were “being let down by delays in the system and insufficient availability of care.”
  • The schools cited research showing that children in England were waiting 21 weeks on average for a first appointment with the NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
  • The coalition is calling on the Government to introduce mandatory waiting time targets so children and young people can access mental health support more quickly.
  • For more, please visit the Yahoo News website.

Schools can choose to defer inspections until 2024 after Ruth Perry inquest 

  • All schools in England who are due an Ofsted visit this week can request their inspection is deferred until 2024, and all requests will be granted unless they have significant concerns.
  • Senior coroner Heidi Connor last week concluded that the inspection on November 15 and 16 last year “likely contributed” to Mrs Perry’s death.
  • Two school leaders’ unions have called for Ofsted inspections to be paused to allow time for “meaningful action to be taken” following concerns raised in Mrs Perry’s inquest.
  • An Ofsted spokeswoman reported: “It’s important that school inspections continue, in the interests of children and parents – but we are determined to work sensitively with headteachers and their staff.”
  • They continued: “We are immediately introducing a number of measures”, and are “developing new training for all inspectors, to include external experts, that will take place in early January.”
  • She stated that “When we receive the coroner’s report we will urgently address all remaining issues.”
  • For more, please visit the ITV News website.