iPhone CSAM scans: Why Apple is backtracking in the fight against abuse images


Hardly anyone questioned the motives for Apple’s latest child protection initiative: “We want to help protect children from abusers, use the means of communication to recruit and exploit them, and curb the spread of material about child sexual abuse,” the company said the measures that should be introduced in the US with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8 and macOS Monterey.

In particular, scanning the iPhone for known allegations of abuse turned out to be so controversial that Apple pulled the rip cord in a dry press release in early September: “Based on feedback from customers, interest groups, researchers and others, we have decided to spend more time in the coming months to gather ideas and make improvements before we release these very important child protection features. ”

Apple has not experienced a PR debacle like this for a long time. How could the company maneuver itself into the corner like that? There was no shortage of good intentions. Even the critics admit that there are solid reasons to take more action against the spread of depictions of abuse on the Internet, which has increased rapidly. According to a report by the European Parliament, the sexual abuse of children and their display on the Internet has increased dramatically worldwide over the past 20 years. However, these numbers are also increasing because investigators in the USA, Germany and other countries are now doing more.

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