Australia demands Apple, others share anti-CSAM steps, threatens fines

An Australian regulator sent legal letters to Apple, Facebook owner Meta Platforms, and Microsoft demanding they share their strategies for stamping out Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) on their platforms or face fines.

Australia demands Apple, others share anti-CSAM steps, threatens fines

Byron Kaye for Reuters:

The e-Safety Commissioner, a body set up to protect internet users, said it used laws which took effect in January to compel the technology giants to disclose measures they were taking to detect and remove abuse material within 28 days. If they did not, the companies would each face a fine of A$555,000 ($383,000) per day.

The threat underscores Australia’s hardline approach to regulating Big Tech firms since 2021… The internet firms have meanwhile been under pressure around the world to find a way to monitor encrypted messaging and streaming services for child abuse material without encroaching on user privacy.

Apple, which owns video messaging service FaceTime, messaging service iMessage and photo storing service iCloud, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple has been scanning every photo uploaded to the iCloud using image-matching technology (much like spam filters in email) to help find and report child exploitation since 2020.

Regarding Apple’s currently delayed plan to conduct on-device scanning in Messages and Photos by injecting surveillance software into users’ devices without permission, destroying years of user privacy protections, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF) is continuing to collect signatures for a petition which states:

The “child safety” changes Apple plans to install on iOS 15 and macOS Monterey undermine user privacy, and break the promise of end-to-end encryption.

I urge Apple to reconsider these systems. Continuous scanning of images won’t make kids safer, and may well put more of them in danger. Installing the photo-scanning software on our phones will spur governments around the world to ask for more surveillance and censorship abilities than they already have.

Users need to continue to speak up say this violation of our privacy is wrong.

Sign the EFF petition and tell Apple to stop its plan to scan our computers and devices here.

Originally Apple’s “plan” would use one database of hashes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Then, after outcry, Apple changed that to “two or more child safety organizations operating in separate sovereign jurisdictions.”

Of course, Apple’s multi-country “safeguard” is no safeguard at all.

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 intended to be a trojan horse, introduced via the hackneyed “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, is not hopelessly compromised, and can resist whatever pressure forced them into this ill-considered abject disloyalty to customers who value their privacy and security, the company will end this disastrous scheme promptly and double-down on privacy by finally and immediately enabling end-to-end encryption of iCloud backups as a company which claims to be a champion of privacy would have done many years ago.MacDailyNews, September 4, 2021

“Nice App Store you have there. It’d be a shame if anything happened to it.”

Apple’s not stupid. So, why did they propose something so stupid and then propose to fix it with a non-fix?

Is Apple management being threatened? Perhaps with antitrust action? Is Apple management being promised things in return for this backdoor into every device? Perhaps antitrust actions that involve a slap on the wrist or even simply evaporate?MacDailyNews, December 15, 2021

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1 Comment

  1. So what is the answer?

    So far I have not installed Monterey or iOS 15.

    I would like to install newer systems as they are released but…

    What is the answer?

    Are our “jailbreak” friends thinking about a solution, and would that open up even more problems.

    I am not about to switch to Android or Windows.

    So what do Apple customers (some of us from the beginning) do?

    What is the answer?

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