The criticism of Apple’s plans for new child protection functions continues: With the planned local detection of abuse photos (Child Sexual Abuse Material – CSAM) on iPhones, Apple is treading a “dangerous path” and undermining “secure and confidential communication,” it says Bundestag Committee on the Digital Agenda. Apple must refrain from implementing the function – both to avoid “foreseeable problems” for the company and to protect the modern information society.
Breaking the dam for confidential communication
The planned CSAM scanning is the “greatest breach of the dam for the confidentiality of communication that we have seen since the invention of the Internet,” writes the chairman of the committee Manuel Höferlin (FDP) in a letter that was sent to Apple boss Tim Cook on Tuesday became. Every scanned content ultimately destroys the trust of users that their communication is not monitored. Without confidential communication, however, the Internet would become “the greatest surveillance instrument in history”.
Apple’s promise of a narrow limitation of functions could not change that, emphasized Höferlin. Even a narrow back door ultimately remains a back door, writes the member of the Bundestag, referring to the civil rights organization EFF, which had already sharply criticized Apple’s planned functions. Requests to expand the scanning function to other content are foreseeable – and Apple could lose access to large markets by rejecting such requests.
Apple boss has been silent so far
Apple’s child protection functions planned for autumn include a nude picture filter for iMessage as well as an independent system for detecting known abuse material in iCloud photos, some of which is supposed to work locally on iPhones and iPads. When a certain threshold of around 30 hits is reached, Apple is informed and can view the photos – and then report them to the relevant authorities. After hectic crisis communication, Apple’s software boss tried again at the end of last week to dispel concerns. Apple CEO Tim Cook has not yet commented on the subject.