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Apple will scan iPhones in the US for child sexual abuse images

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Image via Getty Alliance/Christoph Dernbach/Image

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Apple has announced its latest plan to protect young children from sexual predators.

On Thursday, the tech giant confirmed that it will begin using unused software that detects and reports child sexual abuse material (CSAM) on US iPhones. Apple will use a tool known as “NeuralHash”, which can aid determine if a user is trying to store known CSAM on iCloud.

“This matching process is powered by an encryption technology called private group junction, which determines whether there is a match without revealing the outcome,” Apple wrote in the announcement. The device generates an encrypted security voucher that encodes the result of the match along with additional encrypted data about the image. This coupon is uploaded to iCloud Photos along with the photo. “

Once the automated system finds a match, the human reviews the image in interrogate and assesses whether it is illegal. If the reviewer concludes that the content qualifies as child pornography, the user account will be deactivated and the material will be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

While some have praised Apple’s efforts to strengthen child protection policies, some tech experts have raised concerns that the tool will lead to privacy abuse.

“Regardless of Apple’s lengthy-term plans, they sent a very clear signal. In their (very influential) opinion, it’s safe to build systems that scan users’ phones for blocking content,” Matthew Green, a security researcher at Johns Hopkins University, told The Associated Press. Press. “Whether they turn out to be right or mistaken on this point does not matter. This will burst the dam – governments will demand it from everyone.”

NeuralHash will be offered as part of the iOS 15 software update, which is expected to roll out within the next month or two.

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