The United Kingdom intends to revise its plans for scanning encrypted messages.

The UK government is reconsidering a plan to have computer companies examine encrypted messages for images of child abuse.

Because of privacy concerns, IT companies have spoken out against the ideas.

The administration now wants a report drafted before the regulator’s powers are deployed, according to an amendment to be debated on Wednesday.

However, privacy advocates argue that this additional precaution is insufficient.

The government amendment follows complaints from major messaging apps and others.

Signal and WhatsApp had previously stated that they will not comply, and Apple had also expressed opposition to the ideas.

A “skilled person” must submit a report for communications regulator Ofcom before it can use the new powers to compel a corporation to scan messages, according to an amendment to the Online Safety Bill.

This was optional in prior versions of the bill.

The report could address problems such as the impact on free expression and privacy, as well as whether less intrusive technology could be employed instead.

The law would require Ofcom to use “accredited technology” to check texts for child sex abuse content.

The Online Safety Bill is nearing the end of its passage through Parliament.

Ministers, police, and children’s charities claim the powers are needed to combat “record levels” of child abuse on internet platforms, such as imagery and grooming, and to prevent encrypted sites from allowing child abusers to “operate with impunity.”

Because end-to-end encrypted messages can only be read by the sender or receiver, critics argue that businesses must scan messages before they are encrypted, a process known as client-side scanning.

This, they claim, severely weakens encrypted messaging’s privacy and security.

According to Meredith Whittaker of Signal, the powers would require tech companies to “run government-mandated scanning services on their devices.”

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