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December 14, 2023

Facebook encryption risks children’s safety, National Crime Agency warns 

  • Police could lose most of the reports they receive about children at risk on Facebook because of a move to encrypt the platform.
  • It said Facebook’s owner Meta will not be able to spot key signs of abuse, and the alerts it gets from a US child safety hotline could reduce by 92%.
  • When messages are encrypted, only the sender and receiver can read them.
  • Meta said it would try to flag risky accounts using artificial intelligence.
  • The National Crime Agency (NCA) is concerned that children go onto Facebook pretending to be adults, while paedophiles “masquerade as children” to get in contact with them.
  • The NCA director general, Graham Biggar, stated that he wanted more people to go to prison for watching pictures and videos of child abuse.
  • The NCA also wants the government to make it an offence to run a website to enable men to exchange child abuse images.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Snapchat now lets subscribers share AI-generated snaps 

  • Snapchat Plus subscribers how have the ability to create images based on a text prompt and send them to friends.
  • Those who subscribe to the $3.99 plan can use the feature by tapping the “AI” button from the toolbar on the right side of the camera interface.
  • This opens a window where users can type a prompt or choose from one of the premade options.
  • From there, Snapchat’s AI will spit out an image based on the prompt allowing users to edit and add a message before sending it off to friends and family on the app.
  • Snapchat is rolling out other AI-powered tools for subscribers, including a way to make a subject of a photo appear farther away from the camera, by using AI to fill in the background.
  • Users can try the feature by taking a close-up, pressing the “crop” icon in the camera interface, and selecting “extend.”
  • For more, please visit The Verge website.

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Corringham school apologises after sharing personal pupil data 

  • A school has apologised for sending an email to parents which listed the personal data of 69 pupils who were being disciplined for bad behaviour.
  • The message included an attachment containing details about free school meal eligibility and pupils’ special educational needs (SEN) status.
  • The principal has apologised to families “for any distress caused.”
  • He continued: “This was a complete accident, and the member of staff is devastated by the situation and its effects on you all.”
  • He reported that the school will investigate their actions and “look to take appropriate action to ensure such an incident is not repeated.”
  • The school said it contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) immediately to seek advice.
  • An ICO spokesperson reported that they will be “assessing the information provided.”
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.

Smoking decline stalls since Covid as more young people take up the habit – study 

  • A decades-long decline in smoking in England has nearly ground to a halt since the pandemic, a study suggests.
  • The lead research reported it was likely that more young people had taken up smoking and that urgent measures were needed.
  • In 2019, the government set a target for England to be “smoke-free” by 2030.
  • The researchers, from University College London (UCL) reported that this is likely to be missed and are urging the government to “reignite” anti-smoking efforts.
  • Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson, of UCL’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care said: “It’s really concerning there has almost been the assumption that we have solved the problem of smoking among young people.”
  • She continued: “There has a been lot of talk about vaping and there has been a real disconnect about the risks of vaping and risks of smoking among young people.”
  • The Department of Health and Social Care said it had doubled funding for stop-smoking services, helping 360,000 people quit, and was planning to provide a million free vapes to smokers.
  • For more, please visit the BBC News website.