Apple explains Child Safety policy amid growing concerns
After the implementation methodology of Apple's upcoming Child Safety policy drew flak from eminent personalities, the iPhone maker has attempted to dispel the growing alarm. The company posted an elaborate list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) hoping readers are convinced that the policy isn't an invasion of privacy. Apple plans to implement the policy across its products this fall. Here's more.
Apple's new policy combs iCloud, devices for CSAM content
For the uninitiated, Apple announced a new Child Safety policy that would comb through every Apple user's iCloud account and associated devices in search of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). WhatsApp boss Will Cathcart, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and whistleblower Edward Snowden are among those who have highlighted that the system is invasive and could be manipulated to scan for other content as well.
Answering reporters, Apple says policy will expand to third-party apps
Apple's system works by alerting authorities and parents of children using Apple devices if hashes for recognized CSAM match the hashes for files being shared via iMessage or stored on iCloud. Apple has held a question and answer session with reporters about the policy. The company explained its plans to expand the policy to third-party apps too. However, Cathcart tweeted that WhatsApp won't comply.
Apple could begin scanning iCloud videos as well
While WhatsApp's statements can be chalked up to disagreements between Facebook and Apple over the App tracking Transparency policy from earlier this year, the new policy is well-intentioned but has many loopholes. To date, Apple didn't scan videos uploaded to iCloud but the company reportedly plans to expand the system in "unspecified ways".
App Tracking Transparency policy took toll on Facebook's advertising revenue
For the uninitiated, Apple's App Tracking Transparency policy mandated that all iOS apps seek user consent before tracking user activity across apps (using IDFA tags) for targeted advertising. This hurt Facebook's revenue model that is heavily reliant on targeted advertising. In fact, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was quoted saying "we need to inflict pain" on Apple. They even published newspaper advertisements about this.
Won't bow down to government pressure, says Apple
In an attempt to address concerns that Apple's CSAM scans could be manipulated by government and private entities to scout for other types of content, Apple said, "We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands." "We will continue to refuse them in the future," it added.