Facebook encryption threatens public safety: Priti Patel
(Photo by Isabel Infantes / AFP)

London: UK's Indian-origin home secretary Priti Patel on Friday issued an open letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, alongside her counterparts in the US and Australia, to warn him that the social media giant's end-to-end encryption of messages across its platforms puts public safety at risk.

The senior-most minister in the UK Cabinet stressed that while strong encryption was important for privacy, there was a need to balance data security with law enforcement requirements.

"Risks to public safety from Facebook's proposals are exacerbated in the context of a single platform that would combine inaccessible messaging services with open profiles, providing unique routes for prospective offenders to identify and groom our children," notes the letter.

Companies should not deliberately design their systems to preclude any form of access to content, even for preventing or investigating the most serious crimes it said.

Facebook said that it strongly believes that people have the right to have a private conversation online, wherever they are in the world but also respects and supports the role law enforcement has in keeping people safe.

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