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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Apple tackles child abuse with detection system for iCloud feature

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The tech giant announced new precautionary measures to provide a safer environment for minors. 

Apple Inc said on Monday it will activate child abuse detection system to scan photo libraries on iPhones to detect images associated with child abuse stored on its online iCloud feature. 

The tech giant issued the clarification on Monday after an announcement last week caused concern over user privacy. Initially, it said it would scan all users’ devices, including phones, tablets and computers to detect illegal content.

Although other tech giants like Google and Microsoft already monitor user content for combating child exploitation and other security reasons, experts described Apple’s latest step as “more invasive,” according to Reuters. 

Sources said governments could have other plans, such as expanding the system to monitor other elements on Apple devices. 

However, the tech firm said in a post on Sunday that it will push back against any attempts to decay user privacy.

“We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands,” Apple said. 

“We will continue to refuse them in the future.”

Read also: How private is your private data?

The new system is expected to be activated on all devices updated to iOS 15 by Autumn, company officials said in a media briefing on Monday.

Once activated, all files synced to the iCloud storage server will be checked for violations. 

“About half of child sexual abuse material is formatted as video,” Julie Cordua, chief executive of Thorn, a group that has developed technology to help law enforcement officials detect sex trafficking said, Reuters reported.

The company’s detection system is not designed to check videos, however, an expansion is anticipated soon.  

The latest decision comes as the tech firm faces increasing pressure to conduct more studies on abusive material on its devices. 


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