Last Updated: January 18, 2022
The tech giant Apple decided to reconsider introducing the new feature that would help prevent child sexual abuse, BBC informs.
The company announced last month that a new safety feature is just around the corner. Apple explained its objective in a statement: “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.”
The tool was supposed to launch later this year. Nonetheless, the negative feedback it received, not only from companies but also reportedly from the company’s employees, has caused Apple to delay the realization of the new safety feature. There is no further indication on whether or when they’ll go forward with the plan.
Privacy Advocates Worried About the Implications
Digital privacy advocates are worried about the new safety feature that was supposed to air with the iOS 15. Their biggest concern is that the technology could take on a different direction. If used by authoritarian governments, the new safety feature could turn into a powerful weapon for spying on citizens. As statistics show, 70% of the web traffic is handled on smartphones, which increases the possibility of sensitive information getting into the wrong hands. This is the reason why many people resort to software that protects their online privacy.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation was one of the 5,000 companies that opposed the move, gathering a petition with 25,000 signatures. The Freedom of the Press Foundation followed suit.
Cindy Cohn, the executive director of Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained: “The company must go further than just listening and drop its plans to put a backdoor into its encryption entirely. 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 maintains its promise to provide real privacy to its users.”