Critics fear surveillance over Apple's new anti-banned content feature


Apple's plans to introduce new features to combat Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) have been controversial.


We will remind, earlier Apple announced the development of a system for scanning photos of iPhone users for illegal images. The images will reportedly be viewed by the program in order to search for prohibited photographic materials, such as child pornography or other exploitation of minors. The system is designed to operate on the devices of users of Apple products. If suspicious content is found in the gallery, the images will be sent to employees for verification.


Critics fear that Apple's new features, which include algorithmic scanning of devices and user messages, constitute a breach of privacy and could one day be repurposed to search for materials other than CSAM. According to experts, this functionality could open the door to new forms of ubiquitous surveillance and serve as a potential workaround for encrypted messages.


According to the whitepaper, the new system uses a "neural matching" feature called NeuralHash to compare images on a user's iPhone with a large database of CSAM images compiled by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).


Some people express concern that their phones may have pictures of their own children in the bathroom or running naked on the lawn. There is nothing to worry about, according to Apple. The company "will not learn anything about images that do not match the CSAM database" and will not view users' photo albums at will.


In addition, the tech giant intends to release a new iMessage feature designed to "alert children and their parents that a child is receiving or sending sexually explicit photographs." If a child under 13 skips a special pop-up to send or receive an image, the child's parents will be alerted.


Because of all these concerns, a group of privacy advocates and cybersecurity experts wrote an open letter to Apple asking them to review the new features. The letter has over 5 thousand signatures.

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