EFF: Apple doesn't protect kids by scanning iMessage messages


Apple will soon roll out two scanning systems among American users, it says to check images on devices for child abuse. According to the tech company, this should protect children, but according to the American civil rights movement EFF , Apple's approach does the opposite.


One of the scanning systems will check photos that users under the age of 13 receive and send via iMessage. Parents have to enable the option themselves and the check only takes place with iMessage users who are marked as children. An algorithm will check the photos of these users. When the algorithm determines that it is "sexually explicit" material, the user is given a choice not to send or receive the photo. Then nothing will happen.


If the choice is made to receive or send the photo, the parents will receive a notification. The system also scans the photos of users between the ages of 13 and 17, but only warns the user when they receive or send an explicit photo. The parents will not receive a notification.


According to the EFF, Apple's approach introduces all sorts of risks to children and does little to address the real problem. Statistically, most abuse occurs within families, and parents are more likely to be the producers of child abuse material than strangers, notes the civil rights movement. In addition, in families with domestic violence, an adult can also be forced to use a child account, so that control can take place.


“Apple's plan is part of a growing, worrying trend. Tech companies are increasingly moving into areas of our lives where surveillance is most accepted and where power differentials are the norm: in our work environments, our schools and our homes. While these technologies may be able to resolve these power imbalances, they often provide espionage, monitoring and stalking capabilities to those in power instead," the EFF said.


The civil rights movement warns that this will have major implications for the future of privacy. "The more young people are being monitored by technology, the harder it becomes to advocate for privacy elsewhere. And if we show young people that privacy is something they don't deserve, it becomes very easy for them to accept surveillance as the norm." , says Jason Kelley of the EFF. In conclusion, the civil rights movement argues that Apple is not only endangering its own privacy image with its scan plan, but also the safety of young users.

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