EXPOSED! is a weekly series of articles where we detail the actions of corporations, individuals and governments to mislead, deceive or cheat 'we, the people'. Today, we share a press release and a piece of data analysis from Tutanota, the Germany encrypted email service provider, showing how the UK government is conflating their desire to ban encryption with the highly emotive subject of child abuse.
A PR campaign by the British government wants to highlight the horror of child sexual abuse in order to stir up opposition to encryption. The plan is to stage a campaign in which an adult and a child sit in a glass box where the glass becomes visibly darker. The argument "to protect the children" is used to stifle any discussion about whether and to what extent citizens need privacy on the Net.
However, this campaign distorts the facts to such an extent that it can safely be called 'fake news'.
Already today, governments use available surveillance measures only to an extremely small fraction to prosecute paedophiles. Most orders issued to telecommunications providers are in connection with drug offences - around 80% in the U.S., ~50% in Australia, and ~50% in Germany. The UK Home Office unfortunately does not provide figures on this.
We have therefore carried out a detailed analysis which shows that surveillance orders are hardly ever issued for offences related to child abuse. This "killer argument" is used by politicians like Johnson solely to influence public debate.
In an open democracy, however, it is important that we can discuss social problems free of distorting facts; and the right to privacy is an enormously important right that cannot simply be denied to citizens.