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Even Apple’s own employees aren’t happy with new CSAM features

By Sanuj Bhatia August 13, 2021, 2:00 am
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Apple announced some new child-safety features coming to iOS 15iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey earlier this month. The new features allow Apple to scan photos in the iCloud Library and iMessages for sensitive content and potential child abuse. Despite the good use, the new CSAM features have drawn a lot of backlash from industry experts.

After the feature’s launch, a lot of security researchers expressed their concerns that it could be used for scanning other materials as well. Apple could be forced by governments to scan for photos not only for CSAM content, but they also said. Edward Snowden, a widely renowned intelligence consultant, said that “the feature will turn everybody’s iPhone into “iNarcs.”


Now, according to a new report from Reuters, even Apple’s own employees aren’t happy with the new CSAM photo scanning feature. An internal Slack channel of the company has been flooded with over 800 messages regarding the photo scanning features. Employees have expressed their concern and said the feature can actually be exploited by the “governments looking to find other material for censorship or arrest.”

Past security changes at Apple have also prompted concern among employees, but the volume and duration of the new debate is surprising, the workers said. Some posters worried that Apple is damaging its leading reputation for protecting privacy.

In the Slack thread, “employees have pushed back against criticism” while others have opted to not voice their opinions. Core security team members of Apple in the Slack thread didn’t have any “major complaints” about the photo scanning feature. On the other hand, they said Apple’s solution was a “reasonable response to pressure to crack down on illegal material.”

What are your thoughts on the photo-scanning feature? Do you think Apple is going to take a step back and withdraw its CSAM features? Voice your opinions in the comments section down below!


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