Dutton: Tech titans tolerate child exploitation
HOME Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has launched and brutal and unprecedented attack on "morally bankrupt" Facebook book CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other tech CEOs for "tolerating" the sexual abuse of children.
In an impassioned and provocative speech to a global child exploitation summit in Ethiopia overnight, Mr Dutton has slammed tech giants for pursuing end-to-end communications encryption, which prevents law enforcement from accessing the contents of a message between two parties.
Mr Dutton last night directly warned that Facebook's actions would make it easier for pedophiles to continue their abuse.
"They claim, and I quote, that keeping people safe is one of our biggest priorities at Facebook'," he said.
"Well it is nothing more than public relations spin and frankly to all, an insult.
"Are they forgetting the millions of children who will never be kept safe when end-to-end encryption is adopted as standard practice?
"Do they think that by 'going dark' they will be absolving themselves of responsibility for despicable criminal acts that take place on their platforms?
"Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Cook (Apple) and other tech CEOs have made billions of dollars, but these CEOs are morally bankrupt on the issue of encryption and protecting children.
"Children, babies and toddlers are being abused and tortured.
"These companies have the ability to shift the dial, but instead behave like the tobacco companies of the 1960s.
"They know with certainty their actions are causing harm and they pretend it isn't happening."
End-to-end encryption means even the tech companies cannot access their users' communications.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously argued that enabling access would compromise the privacy and security of law-abiding citizens.
It comes as the Federal Government ramps up its fight for tougher laws to crackdown on child exploitation.
The sheer volume of child sex abuse being live streamed and shared online is overwhelming law enforcement agencies across the world.
Police often privately talk about watching kids grow up online being sexually abused.
Mr Dutton also accused tech giants of double standards.
"(They) not tolerate bullying and sexual harassment or exploitation in their workplace and they would champion the empowerment of women, but at the same time they tolerate the use of their platforms for the sexual exploitation of children, predominately young girls; many of whom will be physically and mentally scarred - in many cases for life - particularly when the image is shared and shared and shared again," he said.
"They have also claimed that our Governments are seeking to establish a backdoor that would leave all users significantly more vulnerable to real life harm from criminals and others.
"It is a lie, and seems to be a convenient excuse to prevent them from continuing to provide critical support to our law enforcement agencies - those who ensure the safety and security of our children and the broader community.
"We don't want keys or code. We want them to comply with the law like any other corporation.
"A warrant issued by a court requires a bank to hand over a customer's details.
"We don't have the keys to the vault or passwords to their bank computers, but the bank furnishes the information.
"We ask nothing more and nothing less of Apple, Google and the like."