Apple Employees Internally Raising Concerns Over CSAM Detection Plans

Apple employees are now joining the choir of individuals raising concerns over Apple's plans to scan iPhone users' photo libraries for CSAM or child sexual abuse material, reportedly speaking out internally about how the technology could be used to scan users' photos for other types of content, according to a report from Reuters.

apple park drone june 2018 2
According to Reuters, an unspecified number of Apple employees have taken to internal Slack channels to raise concerns over CSAM detection. Specifically, employees are concerned that governments could force Apple to use the technology for censorship by finding content other than CSAM. Some employees are worried that Apple is damaging its industry-leading privacy reputation.

Apple employees have flooded an Apple internal Slack channel with more than 800 messages on the plan announced a week ago, workers who asked not to be identified told Reuters. Many expressed worries that the feature could be exploited by repressive governments looking to find other material for censorship or arrests, according to workers who saw the days-long thread.

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.

Apple employees in roles pertaining to user security are not thought to have been part of the internal protest, according to the report.

Ever since its announcement last week, Apple has been bombarded with criticism over its CSAM detection plans, which are still expected to roll out with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 this fall. Concerns mainly revolve around how the technology could present a slippery slope for future implementations by oppressive governments and regimes.

Apple has firmly pushed back against the idea that the on-device technology used for detecting CSAM material could be used for any other purpose. In a published FAQ document, the company says it will vehemently refuse any such demand by governments.

Could governments force Apple to add non-CSAM images to the hash list?
Apple will refuse any such demands. Apple's CSAM detection capability is built solely to detect known CSAM images stored in iCloud Photos that have been identified by experts at NCMEC and other child safety groups. We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands. We will continue to refuse them in the future. Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government's request to expand it. Furthermore, Apple conducts human review before making a report to NCMEC. In a case where the system flags photos that do not match known CSAM images, the account would not be disabled and no report would be filed to NCMEC.

An open letter criticizing Apple and calling upon the company to immediately halt it's plan to deploy CSAM detection has gained more than 7,000 signatures at the time of writing. The head of WhatsApp has also weighed into the debate.

Top Rated Comments

haruhiko Avatar
33 months ago
“We will refuse any such demands.… except when it’s made into a law.” [insert whatever country name you hate here] will definitely force Apple to do so or Apple may lose access to that market.
Score: 84 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ItWasNotMe Avatar
33 months ago
The road to hell is littered with good intent
Score: 75 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xenden Avatar
33 months ago
I really hope apple reversed course on the CSAM stuff. No one wants child porn, but it’s easy to start with a universally reviled topic, then move on to topics that are controversial but not illegal.
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
33 months ago
[HEADING=3]Enough is Enough, Apple! It is incredibly distasteful for you to SPY on us, as consumers. Apple it will be in your best interest to give us the Opt-Out option from CSAM feature, please.[/HEADING]

Where are you, Craig? You said this yourself in WWDC - 2021. What happened?

“At Apple, we believe privacy is a fundamental human right,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior VP of software engineering. “We don’t think you should have to make a tradeoff between great features and privacy. We believe you deserve both.”

This is a punishment and a big slap in the face for anyone who owns an iPhone. Whatever you are trying to accomplish with this Apple, leave it in government and law enforcement hands.

1. How about CSAM scans Apple's executives' iPhones first? No one wants their privacy to be exposed. Please stop this nonsense and RESPECT our PRIVACY. It is our fundamental human right.

2. How come this CSAM stuff was not mentioned by Apple during WWDC - 2021. Apple is up to something. Why now? When we are almost to the release date of iOS 15...

https://www.cultofmac.com/744421/apple-announces-icloud-other-new-privacy-features/

Also, this guy needs to be FIRED from Apple. He is the mastermind behind CSAM. What a joke!



[HEADING=2]Does anyone here have a game plan on how we can stop this crappy CSAM feature?[/HEADING]

Attachment Image
Score: 72 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zakarhino Avatar
33 months ago
"We will refuse any such demands... except when the FBI ask us not to encrypt iCloud Backups.

Oh, and when the CCP ask us to hand over iCloud decryption keys"
Score: 53 Votes (Like | Disagree)
urbZZ Avatar
33 months ago
No iOS 15 upgrade for me, thats for sure

Attachment Image
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
maxresdefault

Apple Spent More Than $10 Billion on Apple Car Before Canceling Project

Wednesday February 28, 2024 5:13 pm PST by
Apple spent more than $10 billion working on the Apple Car over the last decade, according to a report from The New York Times that details the issues the project faced during development. Apple first launched the project in 2014 and let it flounder for more than a decade before calling it off earlier this week. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Money was spent on...