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May 11, 2023

Online data shows the UK is ‘online child abuse capital of Europe’

  • Official data has shown that UK police were passed a record number of 316,900 online child abuse reports to investigate last year, an increase of 225% from the year prior.
  • Most of the reports related to Meta’s social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • Experts have linked the increase to improved detection and reporting of abuse by tech companies, with Google in particular reporting 2.2 million cases of child abuse.
  • This is alongside a genuine rise in online child abuse.
  • It is believed that the disproportionate numbers of reports in the UK could be linked with higher numbers of children having access to the internet and their own devices.
  • Former head of child safety online policy at the NSPCC, Andy Burrows has stated that this worrying rise in reports illustrates the need for the Government to introduce the Online Safety Bill as soon as possible.
  • For more, please visit the Telegraph’s website.

Mother of teen who took her own life joins call for key change to Online Safety Bill

  • A Scottish mother who lost her 13-year-old daughter to suicide supports the call to give children a voice in online safety regulation.
  • Another mother whose daughter took her own life has joined other bereaved parents and campaigners who support the demand for the Online Safety Bill to include an independent advocacy body to protect children’s interests.
  • The NSPCC believe the amendment would give a voice to the youngest internet users and ensure an early warning system.
  • For more on this story, please visit the Yahoo News website.

‘Creepy’ WhatsApp update sparks fears users are being listened to through their phone

  • There have been reports that WhatsApp appears to be attempting to access the microphone on users’ phones whilst they sleep.
  • WhatsApp have stated that the issue is a ‘bug’ within Android, and that the app would not access their microphones without permission of the user.
  • Foad Dabiri, a Twitter engineer, highlighted the problem, when he shared a tweet which included screenshots that showed when WhatsApp had accessed his microphone, including when he was asleep.
  • Elon Musk has also responded to the tweet, claiming that “WhatsApp cannot be trusted”.
  • Users on other forums have raised concerns over the same issue, as well as reporting that WhatsApp has been accessing their camera.
  • The screen has been found within Google’s “Privacy Dashboard” and collects information about how apps use personal data.
  • This dashboard can turn off the microphone but could cause voice notes and calls to stop working on WhatsApp.
  • For more, please visit the Independent website.

Lisburn and Castlereagh extends period poverty pilot amidst DoE budget cuts

  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC) is continuing to provide free period products despite the Department for Education (DoE) halting funding for the service.
  • LCCC previously ran a six-month pilot scheme to address local community period poverty in June 2022.
  • The local council issued free sanitary products in eight of its community and activity centres.
  • A spokesperson has said that the council are awaiting further guidance from The Executive Office (TEO) and will continue to provide products however this is subject to available funding.
  • For more, please visit the Belfast Live website.