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‘Scanning for one type of content… opens the door for bulk surveillance’ | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


Last December, after much opposition, including, voluminously, from MacDailyNews, Apple killed an effort to design an iCloud photo scanning tool for detecting child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in the storage service by introducing Advanced Data Protection for iCloud, which uses end-to-end encryption to provide Apple’s highest level of cloud data security, users have the choice to further protect important iCloud data, including iCloud Backup, Photos, Notes, and more.

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Lily Hay Newman:

This week, a new child safety group known as Heat Initiative told Apple that it is organizing a campaign to demand that the company “detect, report, and remove” child sexual abuse material from iCloud and offer more tools for users to report CSAM to the company.

Today, in a rare move, Apple responded to Heat Initiative, outlining its reasons for abandoning the development of its iCloud CSAM scanning feature and instead focusing on a set of on-device tools and resources for users known collectively as “Communication Safety” features…

“Child sexual abuse material is abhorrent and we are committed to breaking the chain of coercion and influence that makes children susceptible to it,” Erik Neuenschwander, Apple’s director of user privacy and child safety, wrote in the company’s response to Heat Initiative. He added… “Scanning every user’s privately stored iCloud data would create new threat vectors for data thieves to find and exploit,” Neuenschwander wrote. “It would also inject the potential for a slippery slope of unintended consequences. Scanning for one type of content, for instance, opens the door for bulk surveillance and could create a desire to search other encrypted messaging systems across content types.”

MacDailyNews Take: We strongly agree with Apple’s current line of thinking on this issue:

This sounds wonderful at first glance (everyone’s for detecting and rooting out purveyors of child pornography) and horrible once you think about it for more than a second (massive, awful potential for misuse)… It’s a huge can of worms. It’s a backdoor, plain and simple, and it neatly negates Apple’s voluminous claims of protecting users’ privacy. It doesn’t matter what they’re scanning for, because if they can scan for one thing, they can scan for anything. – MacDailyNews, August 6, 2021

Originally, Apple would use one database of hashes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Then, after outcry, Apple changed their backdoor scanning to match “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 backdoor 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 management 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, December 23, 2021

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