Apple delays its plan to scan your iPhone for child abuse photos – Times of India
Apple has announced that it is delaying its plan to roll out child sexual abuse material (CSAM) feature for iPhones in the US after a lot of criticism. “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,” said Apple.
The CSAM scanning feature was announced by Apple last month. It will come with iOS 15 update through which it can identify child pornographic images stored in iPhones. Apple will be extending this feature to iPad, Apple Watch and Macs as well. Whenever, any Apple device detect images related to child pornography or child abuse, the Apple device will automatically blur the content and same will be reported to Apple servers. This feature will be available in the US. For iPhone users in the US, once child abuse content is detected, Apple will automatically alert the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and law enforcement agencies with the user’s Apple ID.
Cybersecurity and privacy enthusiasts are worried about this new feature as they feel if Apple can detect child porn in users iPhone with such accuracy then what is stopping Apple from scanning for content related to political activism or dissent. Apple can be forced by governments in future to snoop on potential political opponents, protestors and whistleblowers.
Apple will use an on-device matching tech using a database of known child abuse image hashes provided by NCMEC and other child safety organisations. Before an image is stored in iCloud Photos, an on-device matching process is performed for that image against the known CSAM hashes.
It is using a cryptographic technology called private set intersection, which determines if there is a match without revealing the result. The device creates a cryptographic safety voucher that encodes the match result along with additional encrypted data about the image. This voucher is uploaded to iCloud Photos along with the image.