LONDON (AP)-Apple said on Friday that it is delaying plans to scan US iPhones for images of child sexual abuse, and said it needs more time to improve the system before it is released.
The company revealed last month that it is developing a tool to detect known child sexual abuse images that can scan files before they are uploaded to iCloud. It also plans to introduce a separate tool to scan users’ encrypted information for pornographic content.
“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers, and others, we decided to spend more time collecting opinions and making improvements in the next few months before releasing these vital child safety features,” Apple said in a statement The top of the company webpage that details the device scanning plan.
Apple stated in its initial announcement that the latest changes will be introduced this year as part of its iPhone, Mac and Apple Watch operating software updates.
Matthew Green, a top cryptography researcher at Johns Hopkins University, warned in August that the system could be used to frame innocent people by sending seemingly innocent images designed to trigger child pornography matches. This may fool Apple’s algorithm and alert law enforcement agencies.
Soon after Green and privacy advocates issued a warning, a developer claimed to have found a way to reverse engineer a matching tool that works by identifying mathematical “fingerprints” that represent images.
Green said on Friday that Apple’s delay was the right move and suggested that the company communicate with the technology and policy community and the public before making major changes that threaten the privacy of everyone’s photo library.
He said in an interview: “Before launching something like this, you need to get support.” “This is a major upgrade from scanning almost nothing to scanning private files.”
Green said that Apple may be caught off guard by a widespread resistance to a child safety policy because it is very mysterious in developing new technologies and treats it as a new consumer product.
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