Apple defends new photo scanning technology to protect children

August 10, 2021 | 2 minutes read

Apple has recently come out with a scanning technology that is aimed to protect children from child abuse and it drew attention and criticism. Apple has responded to the criticism and has defended its technology to scan pictures from user’s phones. 

The technology searches for known child abuse material before it stores it on the iCloud storage. 

Critics warned it could be a “backdoor” to spy on people, getting more than 5000 people and organizations to sign an open letter against the technology. 

Apple has responded with a pledge to not expand the system for any reason. Digital privacy campaigners warned last week that authoritarian governments could use the technology to aid anti-LGBT regimes or potential crackdown on political dissidents in countries where protests are deemed illegal.

Apple replied that it “will not accede to any government’s request to expand” the system.

It published a question and answer document as to how they have numerous safeguards in place to ensure that the privacy of users is being protected and the technology will not be used to access anything other than the child abuse imagery. 

“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 said.

But then Apple has made concessions in the past to keep operating in some countries. What guarantees that the tech giant will not do the same again?

People are advocating against it for the very reason that they fear the technology will be used to violate an individual’s right to privacy which is unacceptable.