Apple delays release of child abuse image detection system on iPhone

Apple iPhone 12

Earlier this month, Apple announced its intention to deploy software to user devices to search for images of child abuse scenes. This initiative was heavily criticized, under the pressure of which Apple announced the postponement of the launch of the new feature and the need for its improvement.

An email that Apple sent to some members of the media said the company heeded the public’s reaction and decided to delay the launch of a custom photo scanning system.

“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,” said Apple in a statement.

Apple delays release of child abuse image detection system on iPhone

“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others,” it continues; “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.”

At the same time, the letter does not specify how the company intends to collect additional information; and with whom it plans to consult to improve the photo scanning function. Initially, the innovation was in plans to be among iOS 15 features; the launch of which should take place this fall.

“We wish that this had come out a little more clearly for everyone; because we feel very positive and strongly about what we’re doing; and we can see that it’s widely misunderstood,” saying Federighi.

“I grant you, in hindsight, introducing these two features at the same time was a recipe for this kind of confusion,” he continued. “It’s really clear a lot of messages got jumbled up pretty badly. I do believe the soundbite that got out early was, ‘oh my god; Apple is scanning my phone for images.’ This is not what is happening.”

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Apple child abuse image detection system

“Apple’s expanded protection for children is a game changer,” said John Clark, CEO and President of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

With so many people using Apple products; these new safety measures have lifesaving potential for children who are subjet of harassment online; and whose horrific images are in circulion in child sexual abuse material. At the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children we know this crime can only be combated if we are steadfast in our dedication to protecting children. We can only do this because technology partners, like Apple, step up and make their dedication known. Also, the reality is that privacy and child protection can co-exist. We applaud Apple and look forward to working together to make this world a safer place for children.
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