22. January 2022

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This week, the U.K. government launched an unprecedented and deceptive effort to kill off end-to-end encryption. They’ve hired a fancy ad agency to convince people that encrypted messages are dangerous to children.

The explicit goal of the “No Place to Hide” campaign, launched on Tuesday, is to prevent Facebook from expanding its use of end-to-end encryption. Currently, Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging system uses end-to-end encryption, but other communications systems, including Facebook Messenger, are scanned and checked against a US government database, run by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), which identifies child abuse images.

Over the weekend, Rolling Stone magazine revealed details of how the M&C Saatchi ad agency pitched this campaign to the U.K. government’s Home Office. The Home Office is paying the advertising agency £534,000, or $724,000 in U.S. currency, to promote the messages on social media and seek placement on popular British television shows.

The ad agency has also proposed a “visual PR stunt,” in which it will install a glass box in a public space where an adult actor will sit next to a child actor, each using smartphones. Gradually the box will become opaque. The point of this bizarre display, according to M&C Saatchi, is to make watchers uncomfortable—apparently because they can’t constantly keep tabs on the actors in the box—and “force Facebook to evaluate their sense of responsibility.”

Of course, an opaque box with people inside is also known as a “house,” as Stanford’s Riana Pfefferkorn pointed out in her blog post about the U.K. anti-encryption push. “The goal of this propaganda campaign is to turn the UK public’s opinion against their own privacy, not just in their electronic conversations, but even in the home, where the right to privacy is strongest and most


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Read the original article: The U.K. Paid $724,000 For A Creepy Campaign To Convince People That Encryption is Bad. It Won’t Work.

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