Apple Scanned iCloud Mail for CSAM Since 2019: Report

Image for article titled Apple Has Reportedly Been Scanning Your iCloud Mail for Child Abuse Images Since 2019

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As many fret about Apple’s new plans to scan iPhones for indicators of kid abuse materials, the corporate has confirmed that it already scans customers’ iCloud Mail accounts for such photos—and has carried out so for years.

As first reported by 9to5mac on Monday, the corporate has truly scanned cloud-linked electronic mail accounts since 2019 for little one sexual abuse materials (CSAM). The outlet’s reporter, Ben Lovejoy, defined it thusly:

Apple confirmed to me that it has been scanning outgoing and incoming iCloud Mail for CSAM attachments since 2019. Email will not be encrypted, so scanning attachments as mail passes via Apple servers could be a trivial job. Apple additionally indicated that it was performing some restricted scanning of different information, however wouldn’t inform me what that was, besides to recommend that it was on a tiny scale. It did inform me that the “other data” doesn’t embrace iCloud backups.

Lovejoy additionally cites a now-archived Apple child-safety web page, which notes the e-mail scanning, as nicely as the corporate’s chief privateness officer, Jane Horvath, reportedly mentioning its CSAM-scanning tech a convention in early 2020. We reached out to Apple to independently confirm the claims made by 9to5mac and can replace this piece in the event that they reply.

The information comes amidst ongoing considerations about Apple’s new plans to rollout on-device scanning of iPhones and different iOS units for CSAM. The new options, introduced lower than a month in the past, have alarmed privateness advocates—who see the brand new instruments as a slippery slope in direction of broader surveillance.

We’ve already defined how these features work, why critics worry they could be weaponized, and why Apple says such fears are overblown.

Despite the corporate’s ongoing makes an attempt to get all people on board, nonetheless, morale has not significantly improved. Thousands of cybersecurity and IT professionals just lately signed a petition asking Apple to reverse its plans. An open-letter to Tim Cook, signed by over 90 totally different coverage teams, has alleged that the brand new instruments “will be used to censor protected speech, threaten the privacy and security of people around the world, and have disastrous consequences for children.” Even Bill Maher just lately did a segment on it through which he dunked on the choice fairly exhausting.

The controversy has threatened Apple’s picture as an organization that prioritizes shopper privateness. However, it’s unclear if the present outcry will deter the tech large. The new options are scheduled to be rolled out completely within the United States later this yr with the discharge of the iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.

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