Apple said on Friday that it would take more time to gather feedback and improve proposals for child safety features after criticism of the system over privacy and other reasons, both inside and outside the company.
Apple’s pledge last month to check US customers’ phones and computers for images of child sexual abuse has sparked a global backlash from a wide range of human rights groups, with officials also criticizing the plan internally.
Critics argued that the feature could be exploited by repressive governments looking for other material for censorship or arrests, and it would also be impossible for outside researchers to determine if Apple was only scanning a small set of content on the device.
Apple countered that it would allow security researchers to verify its claims, but the company said on Friday it would take longer to make changes to the system.
“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we’ve decided to set aside additional time in the coming months to gather information and make improvements before launching these critically important child safety features,” the company said in a statement on Friday. -fair.
Matthew Green, a cybersecurity researcher at Johns Hopkins University who criticized Apple’s decision, said Apple’s decision was “promising.”
Green said on Twitter that Apple must “be clear about why you’re scanning and what you’re scanning. Going from scanning anything (except email attachments) to scanning everyone’s private photo library was a huge delta. need to justify schedules like this . “
Apple had been defending the plan for weeks and had already offered a series of explanations and documents to show that the risks of false detections were low.
It planned to launch the feature for iPhones, iPads and Macs with software updates later this year in the United States.
© Thomson Reuters 2021