“If it saves one child”: British government imitates American gun control groups to attack privacy

Peter Cziborra/Pool Photo via AP

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) is a communication method that protects the privacy of the communicating parties by preventing intermediaries and third parties, including the communication service provider itself, from accessing the cryptographic keys needed to decrypt a private conversation. Needless to say, governments don’t like it because it makes it extremely difficult to snoop on people. That includes the British government. Via MacRumors comes this report, “UK Government Readies Anti-Encryption Publicity Campaign to ‘Keep Children Safe’ Online”:

The British Government is reportedly preparing a publicity attack on end-to-end encryption in an effort to mobilize public opinion against the technology by framing it as a child safety issue, with its main aim being to derail Facebook’s plan to end-to-end encrypt its Messenger platform.

Employing an argument all too familiar to American gun owners, the British government is waging a campaign to convince their citizenry to give up their natural right to privacy in the name of child safety. “If it saves one child” is a part and parcel of American gun control groups’ tactics in their quest for citizen disarmament, and it’s not surprising that the same tactic is being used against other natural rights.

MacRumors quotes Rolling Stone (a publication I have avoided since the UVA Rape Hoax) reporting the following:

According to Rolling Stone, the Home Office has hired the M&C Saatchi advertising agency to plan the campaign, which will include a media blitz with TV ads, campaigning efforts from UK charities and law enforcement agencies, calls to action for the public to contact tech companies directly, and multiple real-world stunts, some of which have been designed to make the public “uneasy.”

In another parallel, the British government is trying to use stunts to sway public opinion similar to how American gun control groups do stunt after stunt to manipulate and take advantage of the emotions of a well-meaning public.

According to documents reviewed by Rolling Stone, one the activities considered as part of the publicity offensive is a striking stunt — placing an adult and child (both actors) in a glass box, with the adult looking “knowingly” at the child as the glass fades to black. Multiple sources confirmed the campaign was due to start this month, with privacy groups already planning a counter-campaign.

It is great that British privacy groups are planning a counter-campaign, but it is alarming that the British government is misusing its formidable war chest of the public’s own tax money to wage a campaign to brainwash the public into giving up their privacy. The counteroffensive is being led by donation-driven privacy groups with an obviously smaller budget. This is another parallel we see here in the United States. Governments fund “gun safety research” groups across the country using taxes paid by the public. These groups, using taxpayer dollars, create biased reports that provide pseudoscientific backing for gun control policies. The opposition comes from private groups funded with voluntary donations.

It is infuriating to see governments fund causes that violate your rights using your own hard-earned money, and then having to pay money again to private groups to fight the government. To paraphrase Thomas Paine in Common Sense, “our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.”

In a presentation produced by the UK government to recruit potential not-for-profit coalition partners, one slide notes that “most of the public have never heard” of end-to-end encryption, which means “people can be easily swayed” on the issue. Tellingly, the slide also notes that the campaign “must not start a privacy vs safety debate.”

In yet another parallel, we see the British government willfully exploiting ignorance in furtherance of its goal of eroding privacy. This is another tactic of gun control groups. We are all too familiar with gun control groups’ constant lies and disinformation. Here is Violence Policy Center’s Josh Sugarmann openly advocating how to exploit ignorance to advance gun control:

The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

I hope the British people see the emotional manipulation and blackmail for what it is and realize that child safety vs natural rights is a false dichotomy, whether it’s about privacy or guns. I hope they cling to whatever little freedom they have left and don’t yield to calls for new laws that won’t eliminate evil, but will instead destroy their natural right to privacy.

As I’m sitting on this side of the pond, I am thankful every day for the Bill of Rights and the wisdom and thoughtful deliberation that went into it. I hope Americans continue to guard with jealous attention the public liberty.