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Meta: Ofcom

Question for Home Office

UIN HL4622, tabled on 1 December 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to give Ofcom emergency powers to investigate Facebook's encrypted messaging plans before they are introduced.

Answered on

15 December 2021

The UK Government supports the responsible use of encryption. It is critical to protecting UK citizens from harm online. But we are clear that companies such as Facebook – now Meta – should not implement end-to-end encryption unless they can do so in a way that would not reduce public safety.

As the Home Secretary said at the G7 Security and Interior Ministers’ Meeting in September, tech companies and national governments must work together to protect the public. It is a vital point of principle that when tech firms are making decisions which affect public safety, representatives of democratically elected governments are closely involved.

Under the Online Safety Bill, tech companies are going to be accountable to an independent regulator (Ofcom) to keep their users safe. It is right that the Online Safety Bill goes through the proper process of parliamentary scrutiny before Ofcom takes up their role as the online safety regulator. We do not intend to give Ofcom emergency powers before then.

Answered by

Home Office