Apple has decided to reconsider its plan to scan the smartphones of all users on behalf of the police for material linked to child sexual abuse.
Critics including the EFF had expressed concern that such a system could easily be abused for other crimes, with the definition of a crime being very fungible depending on location.
In turn, Apple has accused users of not understanding the genius of their implementation and have asked users to trust them, with Apple’s Craig Federighi telling the Wall Street Journal:
“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.”
It seems however the concerted resistance has had some effect, as Apple has now decided to delay the roll-out of the feature, with Apple telling 9to5Mac:
“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. 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.”
It remains to be seen what changes Apple will come up with, but it seems likely that if it includes routinely scanning user’s private property without their consent critics will remain unsatisfied.