Apple's CSAM plan could pave the way for tracking 'political memes and text messages'
Apple’s plans to find child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on US customers' devices ‘fundamentally break the promise of end-to-end encryption’, according to an expert at the professional body for IT.
Adam Leon Smith, Chair of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT’s Software Testing group said tracking the images ‘seemed a good idea’ but could easily open the door to governments monitoring people’s sharing of political memes or text messages.
Governments could monitor political content
Leon Smith recently said:
“On the surface this seems like a good idea, it maintains privacy whilst detecting exploitation. Unfortunately, it is impossible to build a system like this that only works for child abuse images.
“It is easy to envisage Apple being forced to use the same technology to detect political memes, or text messages. Governments won't need to buy spyware from NSO anymore.
“Fundamentally this breaks the promise of end-to-end encryption, which is exactly what many governments want (except for their own messages of course).”
“It also will not be very difficult to create false positives. Imagine if someone sends you a seemingly innocuous image on the internet, that ends up being downloaded and reviewed by Apple and flagged as child abuse. That's not going to be a pleasant experience.
“As technology providers continue to degrade encryption for the masses, criminals and people with legitimately sensitive content will just stop using their services. It is trivial to encrypt your own data without relying on Apple, Google and other big technology providers.”
Before an image is stored onto iCloud Photos, the technology will search for matches of known abuse material, then passed to a human reviewer, Apple said.
The iPhone maker said the new detection tools have been designed to protect user privacy and do not allow the tech giant to see or scan a user’s photo album.
A range of experts including security researchers at John Hopkins University have expressed privacy concerns about the plans.
Latest News from
Paul Fletcher to leave BCS at the end of the year19/11/2021 16:43:00
Paul Fletcher, Group Chief Executive of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT will leave the organisation at the end of the year to take up a new leadership role in the tech sector.
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT announces partnership with Jamaica Technology and Digital Alliance19/11/2021 12:43:00
BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT announces partnership with Jamaica Technology and Digital Alliance.
Call for minimum digital living standard - by professional body for IT17/11/2021 12:43:00
The professional body for IT welcomes the Welsh Government’s proposal to introduce a minimum digital living standard and urges its adoption.
Meeting net zero target depends on better emissions data – warns IT industry10/11/2021 14:10:00
Government and industry need better and richer data to deliver on their COP26 pledges to combat climate change, according to a survey of IT professionals.
Cutting global electronic waste must be a top priority for COP26 - BCS survey28/10/2021 09:20:00
Ending the cycle of ‘pushing new products like smartphones on ever smaller timescales’ should be a top target for the COP26 climate change conference, according to a poll of the IT industry.
Human review of AI decisions needs legal protection, says IT industry body13/10/2021 13:10:00
The right to human review of decisions made fully by computers should not be removed ‘while AI is still in its infancy’, the professional body for IT has warned.
Seven steps to reset IT management17/09/2021 14:20:00
IT management must go beyond technical expertise and focus on broader organisational leadership - according to industry experts who have developed seven digital principles for those working in business technology.
Copying China's gaming ban would harm UK children, warns BCS expert09/09/2021 14:10:00
China’s limit on computer game time risks harming children’s education and should not be introduced in the UK, according to Professor Andy Phippen, a BCS Fellow and online harms expert.
AI Breast Screening needs stronger evidence before it is safe for clinical use – says professional body for IT03/09/2021 14:10:00
Better quality research is needed before artificial intelligence can be trusted to diagnose breast cancer in the full range of UK patients, according to the professional body for the IT industry.