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Apple Delays Child Abuse Scanning Plans

Apple has announced it will delay its controversial plans to scan users photos for child sex abuse material, following continued criticism from privacy advocates.

The company announced the feature last month, but its plans were criticised for creating a ‘back door’ that could be exploited by law enforcement agencies or others with nefarious motives.

“Last month we announced plans for features intended to help protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of child sexual abuse material,” Apple said in a statement Friday.

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features.”

Digital privacy advocates, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, applaud Apple for the pause, but urges the company to reconsider the plans altogether.

“These features would create an enormous danger to iPhone users’ privacy and security, offering authoritarian governments a turnkey mass surveillance system to spy on citizens,” Executive Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement.

“The enormous coalition that has spoken out will continue to demand that user phones — both their messages and their photos — be protected, and that the company maintain its promise to provide real privacy to its users.”

 

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