Apple says it won't expand new child safety feature to any government request

The Apple Inc logo is seen at the entrance to the Apple store in Brussels, Belgium   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Concerned about the fact that its new anti-child abuse measures could be turned into surveillance tools by governments, Apple has clarified that the technology is limited to detecting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) stored only in the iCloud and it will not expand it on any request from the government.

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"Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government’s request to expand it," Apple said in a detailed FAQ.

The Cupertino-based company revealed that they have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands.

"We will continue to refuse them in the future," Apple said.

The iPhone maker assured that CSAM images stored in the iPhone cloud are validated and acquired by National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and other child safety groups and governments can't force Apple to add non-CSAM images to the list. Even Apple itself does not add to the set of known CSAM images.

There is no automated reporting to law enforcement and Apple conducts human review before making a report to NCMEC.

All these will prevent targeted attacks against only specific individuals and save innocent people being reported to NCMEC.

Also Read | WhatsApp chief says Apple’s new child safety feature “very concerning”

CSAM images are not stored on or sent to the device. Apple uses unreadable hashes in place of actual images that are stored on the device. These hashes are strings of numbers that represent known CSAM images. It is not possible to read or convert those hashes into the CSAM images.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2022 4:41:53 PM |

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