Apple said to add iOS photo identification feature to detect child pornography

Apple is said to be close to announcing a new photo identification features that will use hashing algorithms to match the content of photos in user’s photo libraries with known child abuse materials, such as child pornography.

Apple said to add iOS photo identification feature to detect child pornography

Benjamin Mayo for 9to5Mac:

Apple’s system will happen on the client — on the user’s device — in the name of privacy, so the iPhone would download a set of fingerprints representing illegal content and then check each photo in the user’s camera roll against that list. Presumably, any matches would then be reported for human review.

Apple has previously said it employs hashing techniques as photos are uploaded to iCloud. This new system would be done on the client side, on the user’s device. Apple is yet to officially announce this new initiative, and the details will matter.

Cryptography and security expert Matthew Green notes that the implications of such a rollout are complicated. Hashing algorithms are not foolproof and may turn up false positives. If Apple allows governments to control the fingerprint content database, then perhaps they could use the system to detect images of things other than clearly illegal child content, such as to suppress political activism.

However, note that all photos uploaded to iCloud Photos for backup and sync are not stored end-to-encrypted anyway. Photos are stored in an encrypted form on Apple’s server farms, but the keys to decrypt are also owned by Apple. This means that law enforcement agencies can subpoena Apple and see all of a user’s uploaded photos.

MacDailyNews Take: This sounds great at first glance (detecting and rooting out purveyors of child pornography) and horrible once you think about it for more than a second (massive potential for misuse).

It’s a huge can of worms. Apple’s implementation of this new photo identification feature will be crucial.

58 Comments

    1. I’m afraid if I read “thenationalpulse” articles, I might get a knock on my door–as officials–so concerned about domestic terr’ism, might want to take me down to Central for a coffee and a talk.

    1. I agree with you, but it is hard to tell these days. His widow wants unvaccinated added to the terrorist no-fly-list. Covid or no covid, doesn’t that seem just a tad… extreme?

    1. Actually, it would depend. As long as you are not causing other trouble in society, as long as you’re not doing anything wrong, not a racist, an extremist or a terrorist for example, you won’t have any trouble, nothing to worry about.

        1. Well, white supremacy is the number one national security threat right now, along with climate change. What will we do with hidden terrorists and climate change deniers? What if they don’t respond to being educated on the facts? These are threats to all, are they not?

          1. Understood and agreed.

            Remember to put the unvaccinated on LP Job’s no-fly-list along with the white supremacists, Republicans, white male males, Independents, climate change deniers, Trump, maskless, non-Socialists, anyone who doesn’t know what LGBTQIA2S+ means, and… uh… who else…uh… oh yeah… actual real live terrorists.

          2. I thought the deltaPLUSporn variant was the number one national security existential threat right now.

            Sorry, it is sometimes hard to keep up with the latest ‘number one national security existential threat’ of the day as it tends to change as the data and science changes every news cycle.

    2. “Warm and Fuzzy? This guy doesn’t get the same feeling.

      “”It is an absolutely appalling idea, because it is going to lead to distributed bulk surveillance of…our phones and laptops,” said Ross Anderson, professor of security engineering at the University of Cambridge. Another researcher said it’s only a few steps removed from ‘1984’-style surveillance.”

      So much for Apple, “The Security Company.” If implemented, this puts me into the mode of seriously looking for other options. No, you triggered bedwetter, I have nothing to do with chil abuz whatsoever.

    1. What a parent chooses to take a picture of is nobody’s business, certainly not Apples.

      If there is a child abuse issue let the cops figure it not – that is not what people biy an apple product for.

      1. Is it child abuse if I have a photo of myself taking a bath as an infant? If so, I have a month to delete it. I don’t want to get put on Laurene’s terrorist no-fly-list.

  1. Wait. Bob, do you homeschool your kids too? You do know that homeschooling prevents kids from being properly socialized, right? Do you promote the homeschooling movement?

      1. Hal, did you know that you can get big discounts on your auto insurance if you let the company monitor your driving behavior, or discounts on your electricity if you install a smart meter?

        Oh, wait, most meters have been replaced already. Those deals might be over.

        Better move on the auto insurance quick, before the tax per mile driven pilot program is over.

        You know, the one in the stimulus bill.

          1. It will be California first because they have the most electric vehicles that do not pay any motor fuels tax. Like most states (and the federal government), California uses that revenue as the major source of funding for building and maintaining roads and bridges. Would you rather raise that tax (and continue giving electric vehicles a free ride), allow the roads to fall apart as we transition to electric, or come up with an alternative tax?

            1. I suggest we put smart meters on the car charging stations and tax the electricity that gets pumped into electric cars. Taxes can be higher for charging at peak usage hours.

  2. More wokeness from Timmy’s Apple. It is none of Apples business what anyone has on their phone, legal or illegal. IT’S THEIR PHONE NOT APPLES.

    this is a bad thing.

    1. Well, if a person is harming children or national security in any other way, isn’t it then neither a personal nor Apple’s problem? Isn’t then a SOCIAL problem?

      Should we allow child pornographers, racists and extremists to practice sociopathic or otherwise anti-social behavior?

      I mean, child pornography, racism, extremism, spreading deadly viruses, killing the climate, if technology can play a role here to prevent people from taking criminal or otherwise anti-social behavior, why shouldn’t they? Shouldn’t those people be identified and dealt with before they hurt even more people and the planet?

      Put it this way. If you are suspected of selling drugs, your car, house, whatever is immediately confiscated by the police. It’s called “asset forfeiture”. You can look it up. If you are suspected of child pornography, should you be allowed to control your iPhone? It’s evidence, and it committed the crime as much as you did. Scanning your phone for criminal behavior is the same as using a radar to catch speeders. You do agree, don’t you? I mean, if you monitor for criminal behavior, you reduce it, right?

      Or are you hiding something? Do you backup on iCloud by the way?

        1. This is your best comment today! Can’t wait to read TX’s pearls of curated and approved Google wisdom. He’s like a Google savant.. able to caress the most nuanced data from the internet. I’m a big fan of his!

            1. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is Exhibit 1 of the grand and glorious Left. And what a wonderful example it is.

              They cannot let on that their ideas lead to tyranny. Instead, as demonstrated by TXUser here, they will accuse you of being a child molester.

              TXUser is accusing you of being child molesters.

              Dude, nobody here is arguing for the protection of child molestation.

              We are discussing whether or not Apple should put active monitors on your phone to report you to the police for your content on it. We are discussing whether or not it is moral to control people’s behavior through technology, what limits there should be and how they would be set.

              Apparently you would agree with my questions in this thread, that yes this should be done.

              This is a discussion to which the hoi polloi, the deplorables, are uninvited because democracy is messy, wasteful, chaotic and the deplorables are ignoramuses who are too stupid to know of which they speak anyhow. These issues need to be left to The Experts.

              You said it: in this thread they are child molesters.

              Your name calling and false outrage one note samba is just about played out, comrade.

              What are you going to do when name calling and impugning people no longer work to make them cower in fear? What are you going to do when people no longer shut up and comply because they’re afraid of being slandered?

              Your slander is empty!

              I think the only thing The Experts are going to have left is brute force because somehow, somewhere, somebody is making “the wrong choices”, not respecting their superior intellect and wisdom, and the people recognize them for the fools they are.

            2. Can those who are not sexually aroused by small children not discuss those who are sexually aroused by small children? Again, TxUSSR’s logic is… illogical.

            3. Poor widdle snowflakes who can call me and Joe Biden any obscene name you choose but can’t tolerate when somebody pushes back. When you can’t win a debate, you expect a participation medal for spitting out the most insults.

              Apple isn’t putting active monitors on your phone to report you to the police. That is a big, fat, libelous lie.

              Apple is simply shifting the iCloud screening it is already doing (and is legally required to do under the Communications Decency Act) from server-side to device-side. Every other cloud storage service (and every photo-processing service) is already screening (Google since 2014). Apple will be reviewing fewer images this way, not more. If you store your images locally, there will be no monitoring at all and no police unless you attract their attention some other way.

              But let’s not let facts get in the way of the Apple and liberal bashing.

      1. “Shouldn’t those people be identified and dealt with before they hurt even more people and the planet?”

        Yeah, yeah, like in Minority Report. Oh! I just love Tom!

        1. Rick, just as the First Amendment only protects us against government abridgment of Free Speech, Press, etc., so the Fourth Amendmend only protects against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government. In any case, a consensual search is never unreasonable. Everyone who uses iCloud has agreed to terms of service allowing Apple to screen for material prohibited by the Communications Decency Act.

  3. Wise Guy completely highlights the “safety” we have been and are being conditioned to embrace.

    It’s a major viewpoint of the left…trying to manage everything with the checkbox of what they think will keep us safe.

    As I’ve often thought…it is an attempt to take the challenge out of life when in actuality, it can’t be done and the effort to do so, f’s things up the majority of the time.

  4. Producers and purveyors of CP should be drowned, hung, or immolated. That said, Apple need to frack off from our private data. This is no slippery slope. It’s a cliff.

    1. OK, but who says that you own “your private data”? It’s “user generated data”. Why shouldn’t it be used to prevent or punish sociopathic behavior? Are you an expert? Do you have any authority to make the laws? Maybe not.

      1. It is hardly your “private data” when you are storing it on iCloud, which has a user agreement that explicitly states that they will screen it for child pornography, as they are required to do under the Communications Decency Act. Currently, the company is screening all your images on the server. Under this change, the only server-side screening will occur after multiple images being uploaded have been flagged by Photos on your device as substantially identical to images that have already been identified on child porn sites.

        1. And that is the problem right there. If I manufacture the data, I should own it. I already paid for the manufacturing tools, iPhone, Mac, etc., and it is the product of my own intellectual effort. If anybody wants to use it they should pay me for the right. If the government wants to see it without my permission they should get a warrant based on probable cause.

          Yeah, it is my private data, but it is being abused by Apple, Google, etc.

          We are digital serfs. That needs to stop.

          1. Of course it is your private data. You absolutely own it, and the Government cannot see it without a warrant or some other exception to the Fourth Amendment. It is entirely up to you whether you keep all your data private on local storage you own and control, or store it on a remote server owned by Apple or some third party.

            However, one of the 4th Amendment exceptions is consent. Anybody who stores data on iCloud has consented to allowing Apple to examine it in order for them to comply with the Communications Decency Act. Any Apple customer can refuse their consent and maintain their privacy simply by keeping their images locally and not sharing them in any way with iCloud or another cloud storage service.

  5. Wise Guy; you need to get a position with the govt. You’d feel self-important there. It’s apparent your affinities align with the leftist, “we’re here to help” (even if you don’t want it/need it) corp.

    Did you mother often remind you to keep your hands out of the cookie jar?

  6. Actually, MacDailyNews is more my speed! Thanks for the compliment though!

    You know the experiment where they put a cookie in front of the kid and told him that if he waited while the teacher was out of the room and didn’t eat the cookie, the teacher would bring him a second one?

    Well, I ate the cookie! And I don’t expect to see any Social Security either.

    OK, my cover is blown!

    Ever hear of the Socratic Method?

    Honestly, if you guys don’t know how to answer these questions for Liberty, you can’t fight. Look at my questions above and think of how to answer them in defense of Liberty.

    The goose is in the oven and half way Cooked. The frog is losing consciousness in the hot water. Whatever metaphor you want to use, the game is on. Did you not see the CDC ignore the Supreme Court order about the rent moratorium? Who makes the laws? Not the Congress! Who judges them legal not? Not the Supreme Court. It’s now a government of baksheesh raking or power mad bureaucrats, not democratically elected officials.

    Guys like Cook see China as the future. They have been “incented” to join the Party. And what does that look like? Well, I lived there for a long time. I recommend that you watch this video and see what you think. Then decide if you want to fight for Liberty or take your bribes.

    MDN, have always loved ya since the old Apple on Death’s Door days, but it’s time to wake up buddy. Apple is on the wrong side now. No, I’m not watching their video dreck, and I’m not paying for it either.

    What’s that smell? It’s Cooked Goose. It’s Boiled Frog. Now the fight is not to prevent tyranny, it is to vanquish it. Are you prepared? God forbid things go kinetic.

    Oh, and we never did see TXUser contribute to this discussion, did we?

    1. Just like breakthrough deltaPLUSporn cases in a group of fully vaccinated, unmasked, socially distressed Demmies fleeing to DC from Texas… TxUSSR will show up

  7. If they can detect kiddy porn, they can PLANT kiddy porn. Right now, once an accusation of this has been made, no one gives a damn about the truth. Even when the accusations are clearly ludicrous big chunks of the country will seethe with eternal outrage.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.