Apple has warned retail and online sales staff to be ready to field questions from consumers about the activation of an iPhone backdoor designed ostensibly to scan U.S. customers’ phones and computers for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). A growing backlash which includes employees speaking out internally, as well as generating intensified protests from leading technology policy groups.
In a memo to employees this week, the company asked staff to review a frequently asked questions document about the new safeguards, which are meant to detect sexually explicit images of children.
MacDailyNews Take: We reviewed Apple’s hastily-rolled-out, after-the-fact, damage control FAQ and one question sprang immediately to mind.
Apple: “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.”
Q: What will Apple do if a government passes a law to look for other types of images (crime, terrorism, political, religious, sexual orientation, etc.) when Apple has a long history of complying with all local laws? Apple might not accede to any government’s request without accompanying laws, but, based on a long history, will Apple refuse requests based on passed laws?
The tech giant also said it will address privacy concerns by having an independent auditor review the system…
Apple previously said it would refuse any requests from governments to utilize its technology as a means to spy on users.
MacDailyNews Take: Again, Apple might refuse government requests, but the company has a proven history of complying with local laws, which is why privacy advocates are raising the alarm; mission creep is a real concern here.
Once Apple’s conduit exists, governments will work to enact laws that utilize the opening Apple wants to provide here. With history as our guide, Apple will then accede.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
We oppose Apple’s ill-considered move to activate an iPhone backdoor intended to scan customers’ devices without their permission and have signed the Open Letter Against Apple’s Privacy-Invasive Content Scanning Technology which asks that:
1. Apple Inc.’s deployment of its proposed content monitoring technology is halted immediately.
2. Apple Inc. issue a statement reaffirming their commitment to end-to-end encryption and to user privacy.
More info and link to the open letter against Apple’s privacy-invasive content scanning scheme here.
(By the way, whoever concocted and approved the tone deaf rollout of this PR disaster for Apple… ay yi yi!)