An open letter circulating online requests Apple to delay plans to bring out new Child Safety measures aimed at combating child sexual abuse content, with industry experts and high-profile personalities like Edward Snowden among the signatories.
The document, which sounds more like an accusation than an open letter, gives a recap of Apple’s Thursday statement about CSAM detection features.
Apple’s technology, which uses on-device processing to recognize and report CSAM photographs posted to iCloud Photos, as well as safeguard children from sensitive images transmitted through Messages, is a multi-pronged effort.
“While child exploitation is a serious problem, and while efforts to combat it are almost unquestionably well-intentioned, Apple’s proposal introduces a backdoor that threatens to undermine fundamental privacy protections for all users of Apple products,” the letter reads.
Apple’s technology will hash and match user photos against a hashed database of known CSAM once it is introduced. The procedure is carried out on the device before to upload and is solely applicable to photographs transmitted to iCloud. A second technology protects youngsters under the age of 17 from seeing sexually explicit photos in Messages by using on-device machine learning. When children under the age of 13 submit or receive such content, parents can choose to be notified.
Apple’s methods, according to the letter, are problematic since they circumvent end-to-end encryption.
“Because both checks are performed on the user’s device, they have the potential to bypass any end-to-end encryption that would otherwise safeguard the user’s privacy”.
Apple, on the other hand, has stated that the new security procedures do not create a backdoor to its hardware and software privacy safeguards.
The letter continues with comments and criticism from a number of specialists, including Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins University who was one of the first to express worry about Apple’s actions. Green and Snowden are among the signatories to the GitHub petition, which now has 19 organizations and 640 individuals as signatories.
In addition to requesting a halt to deployment, the letter also asks Apple to release a statement.
You can sign the letter yourself here if you desire to do so.