Apple Delays Controversial Child Abuse Detection Update

Tech giant Apple Inc. (AAPL) on Friday announced that it will delay CSAM rollout, after security and privacy experts warned that the controversial software update could breach the privacy of users.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

According to experts, the CSAM update could open a backdoor to iPhones, allowing governments and hackers access to the devices without permission.

Last month, Apple announced that the new operating systems in its mobile devices will have the ability to scan, control and report material that it deems to be related to child sexual harassment material (CSAM). While the attempt seems noble, the fact that the company will automatically access personal data stirred up a hue and cry among the users.

Although Apple claimed that its method of scanning as a privacy enhancement, the news received overwhelming backlash. The company’s executives blamed the public relations blunder on confusion about the technology.

Craig Federighi, the senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, in an interview with WSJ said that the features are largely ‘misunderstood’ and the algorithm will not hamper the experience of the common users. He accepted the communication of the announcement left room for such speculations.

He said, “It’s really clear a lot of messages got jumbled pretty badly in terms of how things were understood. We wish that this would’ve come out a little more clearly for everyone because we feel very positive and strongly about what we’re doing.”

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