WhatsApp head says Apple’s new child safety tool “introduces something very concerning into the world.”
- Apple’s new technology will proactively search for illegal photos of child sexual abuse.
- The system will “scan photos on US users’ iPhones before they are uploaded to iCloud, which will launch as part of the next version of iOS,” according to Financial Times.
- U.S., U.K., and E.U. officials are praising Apple’s decision.
- WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal are being urged to emulate Apple’s move, as well as Google with its Android operating system.
- However, concerns are being raised “by the security and privacy community that Apple has set a dangerous precedent that could be exploited by repressive regimes or overzealous law enforcement,” notes Financial Times.
- RT reports NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has already called Apple’s plan an assault on privacy.
WHAT APPLE SAID:
- Apple released an internal memo saying, “We know some people have misunderstandings, and more than a few are worried about the implications, but we will continue to explain and detail the features so people understand what we’ve built.”
CRITICISM FROM WHATSAPP CEO:
- Will Cathcart—Chief Executive Officer at Whatsapp Inc.—says Apple’s new tech “introduces something very concerning into the world.”
- “This is an Apple-built and operated surveillance system that could very easily be used to scan private content for anything they or a government decides it wants to control.”
- “It’s troubling to see them act without engaging experts,” Cathcart goes on to say. “We will not adopt it at WhatsApp.”
CRITICISM FROM DIGITAL RIGHTS GROUPS:
- India McKinney and Erica Portnoy of digital rights group the ‘Electronic Frontier Foundation’ said in a blog post, “To say that we are disappointed by Apple’s plans is an understatement.”
- “Apple’s compromise on end-to-end encryption may appease government agencies in the US and abroad, but it is a shocking about-face for users who have relied on the company’s leadership in privacy and security.”
CRITICISM FROM THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION:
- Surveillance and cybersecurity counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Project on Speech, Privacy and Technology, Jennifer Granick said, “However altruistic its motives, Apple has built an infrastructure that could be subverted for widespread surveillance of the conversations and information we keep on our phones.”
CRITICISM FROM ‘OPEN PRIVACY’:
- Cryptography researcher and executive director of Canadian NGO Open Privacy Sarah Jamie said, “I hate going all slippery-slope but I look at the slope, and governments around the world are covering it in oil, and Apple just pushed its customers over the edge.”