On February 20, 2020, NCMEC released an open letter to the technology industry outlining five Principles to Safeguard Children in End-to-End Encrypted Environments.
- Do not implement end-to-end encrypted communications for accounts where a user has indicated they are under 18 years old.
- Implement detection technologies, at least as effective or better than those currently available, to prevent offenders from distributing child sexual abuse material.
- Adopt technology vetted by the child protection community to identify sexual grooming of children by adults.
- Promptly report apparent child sexual exploitation to NCMEC’s CyberTipline with actionable information to help rescue child victims and hold offenders accountable.
- Ensure that law enforcement can use existing legal process to effectively investigate the sexual exploitation of children.
With no technological exception to end-to-end encryption, the dehumanizing abuse of children will continue undetected and left as collateral damage. Their abusers and the people who trade the images and videos of this abuse will be protected.
The effects are long lasting for these victims, leaving them struggling in their recovery. Survivors have spoken about their feelings of revictimization as the images and videos continue to be circulated online.