Apple Will Delay Rolling Out Intrusive iPhone Scans After Privacy Backlash

Apple's Tim Cook got big pay bump in 2018: filing (Noah Berger/AFP)
AFP

Apple will reportedly be delaying the rollout of its plan to scan iPhones and other devices for child sexual abuse material (CSAM) following backlash from privacy advocates, journalists, and the general public.

9to5Mac reports that Apple has announced that it will be delaying its recently announced child safety features including CSAM detection for iPhones following feedback from privacy advocates and experts.

Apple said in a statement:

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

Tim _Apple_ Cook testifying via TV

AFP

Apple has recently faced increased scrutiny over its decision to scan user devices for Child Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAM), which has worried many privacy experts who have warned that Apple could be influenced into scanning user devices for content other than images of child sexual abuse.

Apple claims that the way it detects CSAM is “designed with user privacy in mind,” and it is not directly accessing iCloud users’ photos, but rather utilizing a device-local, hash-based lookup and matching system to cross-reference the hashes of user photos with the hashes of known CSAM. If there is a match between a user’s photos and the CSAM database, Apple manually reviews the issue and will then disable the user’s account before sending a report to NCMEC.

However, many privacy experts were quick to express fears about the new system. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the issue stating: “No matter how well-intentioned, @Apple is rolling out mass surveillance to the entire world with this. Make no mistake: if they can scan for kiddie porn today, they can scan for anything tomorrow.”

Read more at 9to5Mac here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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