In an unexpected privacy reversal, Apple is reportedly planning an iPhone update with something called a “neuralMatch” Artificial Intelligence (AI) system to allow it to “continuously scan photos that are stored on a US user’s iPhone and [photos that] have also been uploaded to its iCloud back-up system.”
It would scan the iPhones and iCloud for images of child sexual abuse in an attempt to help law enforcement track down child sex abusers.
While this effort is extremely well-intentioned, it opens a dangerous Pandora’s Box of security and privacy concerns.
According to a report from the Financial Times, the system would “proactively alert a team of human reviewers if it believes illegal imagery is detected” and they would alert law enforcement once the images were verified.
No details have been provided as to how they would be “verified.”
The neuralMatch system was apparently trained to scan using a database from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This system will reportedly be limited, at least initially, to iPhones in the United States.
Apple has reportedly been briefing security researchers on neuralMatch, who in turn are raising serious privacy concerns.
Apple was one of the first major companies to embrace “end-to-end” encryption so that only their senders and recipients can read them. Law enforcement, however, has long pressured Big Tech firms such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook for access to that information in order to investigate crimes such as terrorism or child sexual exploitation.
The company had previously famously stood up to law enforcement to protect Apple users’ privacy. In 2016 Apple refused to unlock an iPhone belonging to the terrorist behind the San Bernardino terror attack.
At the time, CEO Tim Cook said that the government’s request was “chilling” and would have far-reaching consequences that could effectively create a backdoor for more government surveillance.
In that instance the FBI eventually turned to an Australian security firm, Azimuth, to unlock the phone.
Still, Apple has already been scanning user files stored in its iCloud service, which is not as securely encrypted as its messages, for such images. However, according to Apple, “neuralMatch,” which will access user phones and messages, will detect known images of child sexual abuse without decrypting people’s messages.
Nevertheless, PBS reported that researchers say the tool could still be used for other purposes such as government surveillance of dissidents or protesters. Not only that, but it can be used to frame innocent people. PBS added:
Matthew Green of Johns Hopkins, a top cryptography researcher, was concerned that it could be used to frame innocent people by sending them harmless but malicious images designed designed to appear as matches for child porn, fooling Apple’s algorithm and alerting law enforcement — essentially framing people. “This is a thing that you can do,” said Green. “Researchers have been able to do this pretty easily.”
In light of the Snowden revelations of illegal government surveillance operations, it is clear that the U.S. government has shown that it’s capable of abusing mass-surveillance and tracking technology.
This latest Apple development only adds to these serious concerns. ADN
This is a Ploy by Apple and Law Enforcement to access anyone’s phone without a warrant, and if they can check photo’s they can check emails/text messages to be Sure. This is a clear cut way for them to monitor and control the users Political endeavors ie: Republicans. Big Tech and the media are all in bed with the Biden administration, to be Sure if Donald Trump was the President this wouldn’t be happening, and when he becomes President in 2024 this will end.
Could not agree more.
Figures and those who believe this was accidental need to buy my bridge in NY cheap!
Is this why Verizon is offering all existing customers a new iPhone?
Well, Hunter is going to show up on the bad boy list in about 3 seconds of scanning.
sorry good old hunter will not be xcanned as he is protected, this is one of bidens pay backs for following orders, although biden is too stupid to know that he is following orders
AS always there are unwanted consequences of what should be great inovations for people being basterdized by govt and our govt is at the lead. Why do you think all the other govts try to hack us? not only for our “secrets” but for our technology and plans. We are still leaders and many times this leadership is in tthe negative direction as far as freedom is concerned
[…] a follow up our earlier piece on Apple’s well-intentioned but dangerous privacy-violating app update, Apple defends its […]