90+ policy groups ask Apple to cancel its Child Safety plans

An international coalition of over 90 policy and rights groups published an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking the company to cancel its plans to scan iMessages and iCloud photos to detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM). 

“Though these capabilities are intended to protect children and to reduce the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM), we are concerned that they will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children,” the groups wrote in the letter published by the United States-based non-profit organization Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT).

The civil society organizations said that the software could be used by governments to detect not only child sexual abuse material but also other images that they find ‘objectionable‘, such as images of political protests. 

‘’Once this capability is built into Apple products, the company and its competitors will face enormous pressure — and potentially legal requirements — from governments around the world to scan photos not just for CSAM, but also for other images a government finds objectionable,’’ the coalition wrote in the open letter.

‘’And that pressure could extend to all images stored on the device, not just those uploaded to iCloud. Thus, Apple will have laid the foundation for censorship, surveillance, and persecution on a global basis.’’

Some groups that signed the letter are located in the United States, Nigeria, Brazil, Argentina, Honduras, United Kingdom, Nepal, Guatemala, Canada, Germany, Central America, Latin America and Pakistan.

Other signers are from Australia, Spain, Colombia, Belgium, Netherlands, Peru, Bolivia, Ghana, India, Paraguay, Senegal, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Hong Kong and Tanzania.

Apple has been the focus of criticism since the company first announced its Child Safety plans on August 5. While there are some people that support the controversial software saying that it will help protect children from predators, many experts, now including more than 90 civil society organizations, claim that it can be used by governments to surveil its citizens rather than its original purpose. 

A few days after Apple’s announcement, WhatsApp CEO Will Catchart slammed the iPhone-maker’s plan saying that it ‘’is the wrong approach and a setback for people’s privacy all over the world’’.

Read more: WhatsApp CEO slams Apple’s plans to scan iPhones for child abuse images

After receiving intense criticism, Apple released a paper last week to clear up claims. It also said it will seek only images flagged by clearinghouses in multiple countries such as the US National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). 

Written by Maya Robertson


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


China targets WeChat, 42 other apps for violating data transfer rules

Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle surpasses $3 billion in player spending