Advocacy groups around the world disagree with Apple’s plans to inspect iMessages, scan for abuse images.
According to Reuters, more than 90 policy and rights groups around the world published an open letter on Thursday urging Apple to abandon plans for scanning children’s messages for nudity and the phones of adults for images of child sex abuse.
The advocacy groups asked Apple to scrap its plans, they say the move set a bad precedent as the policy might be corrupted and abused by government in other countries.
“Though these capabilities are intended to protect children and to reduce the spread of child sexual abuse material, we are concerned that they will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for many children,” the groups wrote in the letter, which was first reported by Reuters.
“Our main concern is the consequence of this mechanism, how this could be extended to other situations and other companies,” said Flavio Wagner, president of the independent Brazil chapter of the Internet Society, which signed. “This represents a serious weakening of encryption.”
“It’s so disappointing and upsetting that Apple is doing this, because they have been a staunch ally in defending encryption in the past,” said Sharon Bradford Franklin, co-director of CDT’s Security & Surveillance Project.
“Once this backdoor feature is built in, governments could compel Apple to extend notification to other accounts, and to detect images that are objectionable for reasons other than being sexually explicit,” the letter says.
Apple is yet to respond to the letter.