What you need to know
- Two computer scientists who built a CSAM detection system have warned Apple not to implement its technology.
- They said their system "could be easily repurposed for surveillance and censorship."
- The warned that Apple was gambling with user security, privacy, and free speech with its new measures.
Two computer scientists who built a CSAM detection system have warned Apple that the system can be easily repurposed for surveillance and censorship and that it shouldn't go ahead with new Child Safety plans.
In a feature for The Washington Post Jonathan Mayer, assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University, and Anunay Kulshrestha, a graduate researcher at the Princeton University Center for Information Technology Policy, spoke about how they'd created their own CSAM system:
The pair state:
However, they say they encountered a "glaring problem" in that the system "could be easily repurposed for surveillance and censorship" because the design isn't restricted to a specific category of content and that a service "could simply swap in any content-matching database." The piece echoes other concerns raised about Apple's technology, but the pair go further:
Apple has fervently protested against the idea that its system can be repurposed. In its FAQ Apple says its system is built solely to detect CSAM images:
Apple's claims that it would refuse requests to expand the technology have led some commenters to note that this is a policy decision, rather than a technological limit.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9