The other day, the German government sent a letter to Apple criticizing the company’s recently unveiled investment in a program that will control all images sent to Icloud against a database of known child pornographic images.
Now it has 85 organizations around the world – including EFF, the Pen Club, ACLU and Privacy International – as well signed a similar letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In the letter, the organizations explain why they see great risks with both the child porn filter and Apple’s second investment in “child protection”, the function that should display warnings in Messages when children receive or try to send images that a machine learning algorithm classifies as pornographic.
The organizations write that the latter function risks harming young LGBTQI people whose parents are conservative, and can be exploited by parents who are already abusing their children to further control them.
As for the filter that will detect child pornography, the organizations write that Apple will receive enormous pressure and potentially legal demands to scan for other things, such as politically sensitive images. In addition, the pressures and requirements may apply to everything on the device and not just images that are to be uploaded to Icloud.
The organizations therefore ask Apple to drop the plans and instead confirm its commitment to users’ privacy with total distance encryption.