Apple scans photos stored on its device
Apple scans photos stored on its device

According to a UK Financial Times report, Apple plans to scan photos stored on iPhone and iCloud to find images of child abuse.

The new system could assist law enforcement agencies in criminal investigations. But it could open the door to increased legal and regulatory demand for user data.

The British Financial Times said the system called NeuralMatch will proactively alert a group of human reviewers if they believe an illegal image has been detected and if the material can be verified they will contact law enforcement.

NeuralMatch uses 200,000 images from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children for Training and is presented for the first time in the United States.

These images are cut up and compared to a database of known images of child sexual abuse.

The British Financial Times said: Every photo uploaded via iCloud in the US is given a security certificate to indicate if it is suspicious.

Once you mark a certain number of photos as suspicious, Apple allows all the suspicious photos to be decrypted. If it appears illegal, hand it over to the relevant authorities.

Apple expands parental controls

Johns Hopkins University professor and cryptologist Matthew Green raised concerns about the system on Twitter.

"This kind of tool can be used to find child pornography on people's phones," Green said. But imagine what it could do in the hands of an authoritarian government.

"Even if you think Apple will not allow these tools to be misused, there is still a lot to worry about," he added. These systems are based on a database of problematic media hashes that you, the consumer, cannot view.

Like any other major cloud service provider, the company searches iCloud files for known child abuse images. The system described here goes further and allows centralized access to local memory.

The system could be expanded to include crimes other than child abuse. This is particularly concerning given the company's business in China.

The company had previously promoted the protection of data embedded in its devices. When the agency wanted Apple to build a backdoor in iOS to access the iPhone that attackers used in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, they sided with the FBI.

It should be noted that the company announced more in the Financial Times report. He also revealed a new iMessage tool that can warn kids about porn. These new features will be rolled out as updates to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey later this year.

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