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Apple’s New CSAM Policy Strike Back by Major Tech Giants Including WhatsApp

Apple’s new child-safety measures policy is getting criticism from renowned tech giants and influencers worldwide. An open letter with over 4000 signatures rotated online to raise a voice against and express the concerns over the new policy released.

Will Cathcart, WhatsApp chief, is amongst the major critics who open fired on the plan launched by Apple to curb child abuse. With the help of Twitter, he showcased his dismay and criticized his concern on Apple’s new Child Safety features that will scan users’ photos stored in the cloud to filter out the images related to child abuse.

WhatsApp’s chief in a Twitter thread said that the Cupertino tech’s plan to combat child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is stepped in the wrong path and instead represents a ‘setback for people’s privacy all over the world.’ ‘We will not adopt it at WhatsApp,’ he further said.

Last Thursday, Apple took up its social responsibility and announced the plan to mitigate child abuse. Their project involved converting uploaded images to hashes and then comparing them with a database having hashes of saved hashes of known CSAM images. As per the team of Apple, users’ data will be encrypted while they still check and report to authorities about the images related to child abuse when shared.

Though people appreciated the thought behind the approach of Apple, they criticized the plan introduced. “Apple has long needed to do more to fight CSAM, but the approach they are taking introduces something very concerning into the world. Instead of focusing on making it easy for people to report content shared with them, Apple has built software that can scan all the private photos on your phone — even photos you haven’t shared with anyone. That’s not privacy,” Cathcart said.

Citing about their last year’s efforts, WhatsApp chief told the media outlets that their company took the effort to curb CSAM. They reported over four lacs of cases to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) without disrupting encryption and data privacy protocols.

Not just the WhatsApp Head, other tech experts like Edward Snowden, Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, the Electronic Frontier Foundation also expressed their concerns. It advocated that plan may lead to abuse by governments or ‘nefarious parties.’

Apple is well-known for bringing policies and plans to take care of users’ privacy. Some of the critics believe that the new method might shake the long-standing reputation. While the world is criticizing Apple’s new policy, many influencers are actually appreciating the move, like Ashton Kutcher. He calls Apple’s work “a major step forward” to eliminate CSAM.

After facing worldwide criticism, the Apple Privacy Letter requested the iPhone maker reconsider the rollout of the technology. Otherwise, they must undo “decades of work by technologists, academics and policy advocates” on privacy-preserving measures.

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