What is encryption and why does it matter for children?

Summary note by UNICEF’s Cross-Divisional Working Group on Child Online Protection, 2020


Encryption encodes information so that it can only be read by certain people. ‘End-to-end’ is a robust form of encryption where only the users communicating can read the information. In other words, third parties – such as service providers – cannot decrypt the information.

It matters for children because while it protects their data and right to privacy and freedom of expression, it also impedes efforts to monitor and remove child sexual abuse materials and to identify offenders attempting to exploit children online.

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UNICEF’s Cross-divisional Working Group on Child Online Protection

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