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The UK, and others, have criticized Facebook over its plan to introduce end-to-end message encryption, arguing it would allow pedophiles freely share child abuse materials as millions are attributed to the tech giant’s platforms.

The US social media giant has found itself at the center of yet another controversy as its initiative supposedly aimed at protecting the privacy of billions of people using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp stumbled on the vehement opposition of the UK and the US, as well as other countries. The governments argue the move would make the social networks a safe haven for pedophiles and terrorists.

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On Sunday, the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel published a damning piece in the Sun, which said Facebook’s plan would “only help terrorists and paedophiles” and accused the tech giant of failing to come up with any “credible” strategy to fight child sex abuse. The change would make it “near-impossible to recover online criminal conversations,” she wrote, citing some officials. Patel called Facebook’s arguments “overblown” and said it simply wants “to turn a blind eye” to “horrific abuse.”

London did not just limit itself to opinion pieces in the British media, though. The Five Eyes group – the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, also joined this time by India and Japan – issued a joint statement essentially demanding Facebook provide a backdoor for the security services to use to get access to encrypted messages.

“Tech companies should include mechanisms in the design of their encrypted products and services whereby governments, acting with appropriate legal authority, can gain access to data in a readable and usable format,” the statement reads, encouraging the tech giant to find “mutually agreeable solutions” to supposedly protect both privacy and “public security.”

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Facebook’s intentions to fully encrypt communications in its messaging app and Instagram Direct, in addition to the already-encrypted WhatsApp, have been known since at least 2019. The potential change would mean that no one except for the message sender and recipient could see or modify its content.

More fuel has been added to the fire as a US Congress-founded children’s charity released data suggesting Facebook accounts for a whopping 94 percent of all cases of child sex abuse materials being shared on the internet, as reported by US tech companies. Out of almost 17 million reports involving distribution of over 69 million child sex exploitation images and videos, more than 15.8 million were filed by Facebook, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) said in its recent report.

Facebook has so far not reacted to this latest flurry of requests and demands made by the governments. Yet, earlier, the tech giant already promised to look into improving child protection on its networks ahead of the planned change.

Solutions presented by Facebook back in autumn 2019 focused on preventing pedophiles from contacting potential victims in the first place. It also ultimately involved a whole lot of new tracking procedures that would range from flagging someone seeking to contact minors they do not know and analyzing age gaps between people communicating privately on its platfo

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Pakistan blast: At least seven dead in Peshawar school attack






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At least seven people have died after an explosion during a class at a religious school in Pakistan, police have said.

Children of various age groups are among the dead, an officer at the scene told the BBC.

Dozens of others were injured in the attack, which took place in the northern city of Peshawar.

No group has yet claimed responsibility. An investigation has been launched.

The city of Peshawar, close to the Afghan border, has seen some of the worst of the violence during the Taliban insurgency in recent years.

Six years ago, gunmen stormed a military school in the city leaving more than 150 dead, including many children.

What happened?

The blast took place at about 08:30 local time (03:30 GMT), police told the BBC.

About 60 people are understood to have been in the class at the religious school, known as a madrassa.


An eyewitness has told the police he saw a man enter the building with a bag of explosives shortly before the blast.

news agency that two teachers were injured.

Hospital officials told Reuters news agency that they had received dozens of injured, many with burns.

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Duterte seeks best Covid vaccine deal but ‘will not beg’ or allow private suppliers to rip off Philippines





Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he would pursue a direct government-to-government deal for a coronavirus vaccine with either China or Russia, warning that ‘corrupt’ private suppliers could try to swindle his country.

“Let me tell everybody that we will not beg, we will pay,” Duterte said in a televised address on Monday night, adding that while Manila is not seeking charity it also aims to sign a direct government-to-government deal without intermediaries.

The president did not indicate the status of vaccine negotiations with Beijing or Moscow, saying he merely mentioned the two countries as possible sources out of a “sense of urgency,” and that “all options” were still on the table. 

The one that could give us the best interest for the country will be chosen.

Duterte stressed the need to obtain an inoculation directly from a friendly foreign state, rather than a private business, warning that such transactions could only bring “trouble” and that a government deal would mean “no corruption.”

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Under its proposed national budget for 2021, Manila will devote some 2.5 billion Philippine pesos ($51.6 million) to vaccine procurement, which Duterte said would be overseen by Finance Secretary Carlos ‘Sonny’ Dominguez III.

“Since he is going to pay, I will listen to Sonny. If there are no funds, he will go to jail,” the president said, apparently threatening prison time for a member of his own cabinet.

Duterte previously torched Western pharma firms developing coronavirus immunizations, saying they were “all about profit,” pointing to some companies who asked for a “cash advance before they deliver the vaccine.” The leader gave a stern warning to any company who offered similar proposals, vowing “I’ll kick your a**.”

Though the president has offered to be the first in his country to take the jab developed in Russia, Sputnik V, it is not clear whether such an arrangement has been made. However, Moscow’s ambassador to the island nation, Igor Khovaev, recently stated the jab could be available to the Philippines by the end of the year.

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Think your f

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At least 7 killed, 70 wounded after bomb goes off at religious school in Pakistan – hospital official





At least seven people were killed and more than 70 wounded in an explosion inside a seminary in northern Pakistan on Tuesday morning. Children are among the victims.

The blast took place in Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Senior police official Wagar Azim told AFP that a bomb brought inside the Speen Jammat mosque, which also functions as a religious school for local children, went off in the middle of Quran studi

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