Apple on Friday said it would delay a controversial backdoor to scan users’ photo libraries, ostensibly for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), but which could easily be bastardized to scan for political images, words, etc.
Apple’s statement added to its website on Friday: Previously we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them and to help limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material. Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.
MacDailyNews Take: And others.
Apple immediately stirred controversy after announcing its system for checking users’ devices for illegal child sex abuse material, or CSAM. Critics pointed out that the system, which can check images stored in an iCloud account against a database of known CSAM imagery, was at odds with Apple’s messaging around its customers’ privacy.
MacDailyNews Take: Prior to this delay, and after the initial revelation of the ill-considered plan to install a backdoor into users’ devices without their permission, Apple claimed there was no issue, as they changed the scheme to use databases of image hashes provided by multiple countries to make sure they matched — ostensibly to ensure that hashes looking for things other than CSAM, such as political signs, certain words in images (including screenshots), etc. could not be introduced.
Of course, Apple’s multi-country “safeguard” was a meaningless joke.
The Five Eyes (FVEY) is an intelligence alliance comprising the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.
The FVEY further expanded their surveillance capabilities during the course of the “war on terror,” with much emphasis placed on monitoring the World Wide Web. The former NSA contractor Edward Snowden described the Five Eyes as a “supra-national intelligence organization that does not answer to the known laws of its own countries.”
Documents leaked by Snowden in 2013 revealed that the FVEY has been spying on one another’s citizens and sharing the collected information with each other in order to circumvent restrictive domestic regulations on surveillance of citizens.
Apple’s claim to scan only for CSAM was always bullshit. It was intended to be a trojan horse, introduced via the Think of the Children™ ruse, that would be bastardized in secret for all sorts of surveillance under the guise of “safety” in the future.
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. — Benjamin Franklin
The fact that Apple ever considered this travesty in the first place, much less announced and tried to implement it in the fashion they did, has damaged the company’s reputation for protecting user privacy immensely; perhaps irreparably.
Hopefully, if Apple has any sense whatsoever, the company will delay this disaster for infinity.
(9:47am PDT: Fixed misspelling. Thanks, DA.)