iPhone 12 ProSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

What you need to know

  • Bill Maher has blasted Apple's plans to scan iCloud Photos for Child Sexual Abuse Material.
  • He said the move was a blatant constitutional breach.
  • He also claimed Apple should admit that the problem with iPhones is that they turn people into assholes.

Bill Maher has absolutely blasted Apple's plans to scan iCloud Photos for Child Sexual Abuse Material, and says that the company should instead admit its phones turn people into assholes.

Maher's strong comments, reported by Deadline, came during the New Rules segment of Real Time:

He used his "New Rules" segment on Real Time to decry Apple's announcement that it would soon scan users' phones for child pornography. Maher said repeatedly that he was against pedophilia, but also against invasions of privacy.

He said that Apple "nosing through everybody's private photo stash" was casting an "awfully wide, intrusive net", labeling the measures a "blatant constitutional breach". He went on to say phones should be private like wallets or purses before asking "What about probable cause? What about the 4th Amendment?"

As the report notes, Maher's comments then took a bit of a turn:

He then moved into the heart of his argument.

"Apple should admit that the problem with their phones isn't just what people store on them. It's that they make people into assholes," said Maher. "No other device has ever commanded our attention the way a smartphone does." Maher reeled off a litany of smartphone-related drawbacks, from transfixed users staying awake far too late at night to children being exposed to a world of pornography to people obsessing over the perfect selfie rather than taking in a beautiful view.

Maher lamented that phones "make people live fake lives" where "It's more important to get a picture of you having a good time than actually having a good time." He also claimed phones "make people bullies. Angrier. More vitriolic. More racist online than they would ever dream of being if they had to say those things to someone's face. The phone made us passive-aggressive to our friends and hyper-aggressive to total strangers."

Apple's Child Safety Measures have drawn criticism from some privacy advocates and security experts. Since the announcement, Apple has fervently defended itself from criticism, with software chief Craig Federighi admitting that Apple had wished its message had come across more cleanly.