Designed to scan for images of child sexual abuse, Apple insisted that they would not accede to pressure to expand this to other content, something the EFF has expressed concern about.
“Let us be clear, this technology is limited to detecting CSAM [child sexual abuse material] stored in iCloud and we will not accede to any government’s request to expand it,” the company writes.
Apple insisted they had a reputation for resisting government demands.
“We have faced demands to build and deploy government-mandated changes that degrade the privacy of users before, and have steadfastly refused those demands. We will continue to refuse them in the future,” they noted.
This is of course a complete lie. Apple was one of the first to remove VPN apps from their Chinese app store, and given that it is very difficult to side-load applications on iPhones, this immediately left those users at the mercy of China’s oppressive policies.
The company has also agreed to leave your iCloud backups on servers controlled by the Chinese government, where they can be scanned at their leisure.
Apple has also disabled FaceTime in countries that do not allow encrypted phone calls and are not making their new Private Relay service available in most oppressive regimes.
In short, Apple has a strong history of degrading the privacy of users in life or death use cases where it really matters, though of course, Apple is very strong on preventing users from being exposed to Google ads.
As the EFF notes, a back door is a back door, and despite Apple’s assurances, there is no guarantee the spyware tool will not be turned on more of their users.
via the verge