LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Privacy versus public safety is front and center in the State of Nevada’s latest fight against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. 

Attorney General of Nevada Aaron Ford filed to sue social media giants Meta, TikTok and Snapchat in January for their addictive nature. Now, the latest motion is to block the automatic encrypted messages function for youth. 

It’s called end-to-end data encryption where only the two people chatting can view the messages.

The update happened in December.

The State claimed it was a public safety issue. According to the state’s filing, “Roughly two children a day are reported to be abused or at risk of abuse in Nevada, on Meta’s platforms.”

Continuous encryption makes accessing messages between child predators and victims harder.

That is concerning for Susie, who spoke with 8 News Now while playing at a park with her grandnephews.

“I don’t think kids should be allowed on Facebook and Instagram, but as far as encrypted messages, absolutely not,” Susie said. “There are just predators online. Adult women even my age have to worry about online contacts.”

Several groups including the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation penned an opposition to the state’s attempt to block encryption.

EFF CEO Cindy Cohn said strong security for children’s personal info means strong encryption.

“What Nevada wants to do is going to make it easier for criminals to access the communications of children because if you make it easy for law enforcement to access, you make it easier for criminals to access to. That is why I say it’s a really bad trade off,” Cohn said. “Children deserve safety from criminals too.”

A hearing is scheduled for March 20. 


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