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Apple introduced iOS15:Scanning Photos

In efforts to crack down on child sexual abuse material (CSAM), Apple introduced iOS15. The new update proposed raising new technology to iPhones and other devices to scan iPhone photos and alert authorities if the picture contains CSAM. Objectively, fighting against sexual abuse is a good thing. Nevertheless, experts disapprove of the new update.

How exactly does the technology work? Apple’s CSAM technology will scan an image uploaded to the iCloud and compare it to other codes of known child sex abuse images. If the photo is CSAM, Apple will shut down.

CSAM is nothing new. Both Facebook and Google have been scanning their photos for years. And Apple is already able to browse pictures uploaded through iCloud accounts. So, in reality, Apple scanning photos for CSAM would be reasonable. However, Apple wants to take it a step further. The scanning will take place on the device, not the server you upload the photos. Apple also says the technology will scan iMessages for sexual imagery sent from or to children.

Advocates for privacy are incredibly skeptical of the new software. Many feel that if Apple can do this to specific photos, it’s only a matter of time before Apple checks all pictures. Customers also feel that scanning photos can lead to hackers. Apple assures that no one is watching or eavesdropping on your messages. But using Apple’s new CSAM technology can potentially lead to someone accessing your photos.

Another risk that can arise is that Apple can mistakenly confuse harmless photos with sexually explicit images. Apple claims that the possibility of this happening is one trillion, but many experts feel that it is higher. Karim Hijaz, CEO of Pavillion, stated that “Apple’s heart is in the right place… but this measure is simply too wide-ranging because it sacrifices the privacy of everyone in the process,” he says.

So is there a way out? Apple can only scan photos uploaded to the iCloud; Apple users can opt out by disabling iCloud storage in photos. To do this, one must:

  1. Open settings

  2. Scroll down to photos

  3. Tap the iCloud photos slider to off.

Instead of storing photos on iCloud, customers can use a flash drive or computer to protect their privacy.

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