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  • Protect Children

Encrypted platforms are quickly becoming a safe haven for child sexual abuse

Updated: Jan 16


Protect Children, December 2023

Tegan Insoll, Head of Research & Anna Katariina Ovaska, Deputy Director

three children looking at a phone

Encrypted platforms are quickly becoming a safe haven for individuals who perpetrate crimes of sexual violence against children online. The current trend among tech companies of adopting end-to-end encryption on their platforms significantly endangers the safety of children, as it hinders law enforcement efforts to identify and rescue victims of sexual abuse and prevents the detection and removal of child sexual abuse material.

Protect Children’s latest research shows that child sexual abusers use encrypted services to contact children. The preliminary findings from our research on undetected child sexual abuse material (CSAM) users in the dark web reveals the widespread use of encrypted services and messaging apps to contact children and disseminate child sexual abuse material. 29% of respondents to our ReDirection survey of people searching for CSAM on dark web search engines say that they have used a messaging app to search for or view CSAM. The most used messaging apps for these purposes are end-to-end encrypted.

Read the statement:

Encrypted Services and Messaging Apps Are Being Used to Contact Children and Disseminate C
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This research is conducted by Suojellaan Lapsia, Protect Children ry., with the support of the Tech Coalition Safe Online Research Fund.


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