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Cyber security expert Alex Stamos discusses recent controversy regarding Apple’s Child safety features

Tech has surely revolutionized the world and our day to day life’s. With the benefits and increased efficiency that internet offers, it would certainly be difficult for humans to survive without it. With increase in the use of technology, a lot of technology companies came up and produced tech devices and products. These devices and products however useful have a significant drawback attached with them. One main drawback connected to technological devices is the constant privacy concern about personal data, users worry that their data and actions on these devices are being analyzed by the companies that have created them and are being sold for advertisements or for other monetary benefits to different companies.

Giants in the tech industry such as Facebook and Apple have all been criticized by users and even the courts for accessing or selling user data. Tech giant Apple was just recently criticized for not protecting users data the way it deserve, it started when Apple announced the child safety features that it planned to release. These child safety features were announced by Apple to keep minors safe and to reduce sexual abuse against them. Apple as a part of this initiative planned to scan all iPhones, it planned to scan the devices for any picture that includes sexual abuse against minors. It also decided to pass every photo being uploaded on the iCloud through its CSAM (Child sexual abuse material) scan, which matched the photo with a database of sexual abuse imagery and reported to authorities if the image and the database matched.

This initiative was surely a great one and would be a great step towards protecting our children’s from predators, however considering the history that Apple and other tech related companies have with user data, it received a huge amount of criticism. People lashed out at the company saying that the whole protection for sexual abuse against children’s is a façade that Apple is using for scanning users data. ‘Alex Stamos’ the former chief security at Facebook also came out and discussed his point of view on the matter.

Alex said that the debate between child protection and data stealing has no easy answer. He criticized Apple and saying that, even though Apple was invited to work on encryption alongside other companies, it refused to do so and pushed itself to the farthest corner with no public consult or debate. Alex also showed his disappointment towards various NGO’s like the NCEMC and said that these organizations left no room for discussion in their statements.

Alex while referring to the one’s criticizing Apple for their child safety features said that though Apple’s decision raises some questions, the features are backed by the UK Online safety bill and EU digital services act. Later he suggested Apple to create more safety functions in their devices saying that they should develop a mechanism for iMessage where users could report a message for spam, hate speech, threat or any other offense.

He also highlighted the data for sexual abuse against children’s and said that Facebook has caught 4.5 million users posting child abuse imagery and said that this might only be just a fraction of child abusers out there.


Photo: Nikada / Getty Images

Read next: Apple shares Child Sexual Abuse Material FAQ to combat rumors regarding photo scanning

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