Apple delays the controversial plan to scan and monitor all US iPhones for evidence of child abuse images after backlash
As you may recall in early August, Apple announced the plans to scan and monitor all US iPhones for evidence of child abuse images. However, security researchers raised concerns over the potential surveillance of personal devices saying the system could be misused by governments looking to surveil their citizens. Under heavy pressure from privacy advocacy groups and backlash, Apple has decided to postpone the plan.
Apple said Friday that it would delay a controversial plan to scan users’ photo libraries for images of child exploitation.
In a statement, Apple said, “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.”
Apple further added, “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.”
With this new system, Apple, a private company, now wants to track every phone in the United States to “help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).”
In some sense, our smart devices are already acting like tracking devices that broadcast the whereabouts of their users. As you may recall, we reported four years ago about how Android phones help Google tracks your every move even after you turn off the location tracking services.
The proposed system would alert a team of human reviewers if it finds CSAM is detected on the user’s phone. The human reviewers would then contact law enforcement if the material can be verified. The features will be rolled out Tas part of iOS 15, expected to be released next month.