Apple to Start Scanning US iPhones for Child Abuse Images

It’s a difficult subject to discuss, but sadly there are a lot of people out there who actively seek, obtain, and/or create images of child abuse, and specifically regarding sexual activities. This is, of course, an exceptionally illegal activity, but one that can be very tricky for the police and authorities to successfully monitor. As we all know, there are ways and means by which you can hide or disguise your online activity. – Following a report via the BBC, however, Apple has announced the launch of a new image scanning technology that will be deployed to (or on) its American iPhone users that will look to actively seek out people who keep these sorts of images on their smartphones.

Apple Announced New Image Scan Technology

Apple has confirmed that a new iOS and iPadOS update planned for later this year will see in the introduction, specifically starting in America, of a new image scanning technology. Taking existing known images of child sexual abuse, these are converted into identifiable ‘hashes’ which, through this new operating system update, will be actively scanned for on Apple’s smart devices.

The key focus of this is the fact that Apple will not be actively looking through their customers pictures. What they will be doing instead is searching basically for the image’s designated ‘reference’ number and if this pings up on a person’s device, they will be reported to their local authorities for further investigation.

Sounds Good – But Some Won’t Be Happy

The system certainly sounds like an excellent means of identifying people involved in this abhorrent activity and, thanks to how it works, it will effectively remove the ‘protections’ offered to these people who are clever enough to know how to effectively mask their online identity. – As you might expect, however, there are already more than a few dissenting voices who are concerned about the potential abuse of this system and, in a nutshell, Apple using this as an excuse (or at least some kind of smoke screen) to ‘spy’ on its customers.

However, from my perspective and on this very specific subject, I think the ends justify the means. Between catching child abusers and any potential risks of being spied upon, although I fully see the perspective of those who might disagree with this, I frankly see the benefits of the former significantly outweighing the risks of the latter. – Please note though that, at least at the time of writing, this system is currently only set to be initially deployed within America.

One thing, however, is certain. This is a controversial move and will divide opinions.

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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