Apple backs down on CSAM features, postpones launch

Posted:
in iOS edited September 3
Following widespread criticism, Apple has announced that it will not be launching its child protection features as planned, and will instead "take additional time" to consult.

Apple's new child protection feature
Apple's new child protection feature


In an email sent to AppleInsider and other publications, Apple says that it has taken the decision to postpone its features following the reaction to its original announcement.

"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," said Apple in a statement.

"Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others," it continues, "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."

There are no further details either of how the company may consult to "collect input," nor with whom it will be working.






Apple originally announced its CSAM features on August 5, 2021, saying they would debut later in 2021. The features include detecting child sexual abuse images stored in iCloud Photos, and, separately, blocking potentially harmful Messages sent to children.

Industry expert and high-profile names such as Edward Snowden responded with an open letter asking Apple to not implement these features. The objection is that it was perceived these features could be used for surveillance.

AppleInsider issued an explanatory article, covering both what Apple actually planned, and how it was being seen as an issue. Then Apple published a clarification in the form of a document detailing what its intentions were, and broadly describing how the features are to work.

However, complaints, both informed and not, continued. Apple's Craig Federighi eventually said publicly that Apple had misjudged how it announced the new features.

"We wish that this had come out a little more clearly for everyone because we feel very positive and strongly about what we're doing, and we can see that it's been widely misunderstood," said Federighi.

"I grant you, in hindsight, introducing these two features at the same time was a recipe for this kind of confusion," he continued. "It's really clear a lot of messages got jumbled up pretty badly. I do believe the soundbite that got out early was, 'oh my god, Apple is scanning my phone for images.' This is not what is happening."

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 160
    🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳🥳
    JaiOh81macplusplusBeatsrinosaurchemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 160
    I hope this turns into an indefinite postponement. I think Apple meant well with trying to implement these features but I’m glad they’re standing down for now and hopefully this will be like that AirPower pad that never materialized
    muthuk_vanalingamxyzzy-xxxaguyinatxbluefire1techconcBeatsmwhiterinosaurjahbladebaconstang
  • Reply 3 of 160
    Subway’s Jared tweets his appreciation!
    9secondkox2jSnivelyjony0ravnorodomlkruppjahbladedewmefastasleep
  • Reply 4 of 160
    GeorgeBMacGeorgeBMac Posts: 10,270member
    That is the mark of a quality corporation as well as a quality individual:   Realizing that they are not perfect and everything thing they do is not inherently the right thing.

    It's a humility that enables one to admit and correct mistakes -- or at least examine that they may have been mistakes.

    Was this the right thing or the wrong thing to do?  The mere fact that Apple sees that as a valid question speaks highly of them.
    Good job Apple!

    JaiOh81mike1Beatslordjohnwhorfinjahbladecypresstreeroundaboutnowbyronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 160
    Hollow victory. 

    As soon as the uproar has died down and Apple thinks it is safe they will be back. They will frame what they put forth next time as "look what we have done to protect you." when in reality it will likely just be cosmetic.
    omairmike54byronl
  • Reply 6 of 160
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,315member
    Good! Kudos to Apple for trying to do the right thing, then backtracking when they realised it wasn't the right way to do it. My respect for Apple has been restored.
    edited September 3 JaiOh81mobirdxyzzy-xxxmacplusplusBeatsrinosaurjahblade
  • Reply 7 of 160
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    That is the mark of a quality corporation as well as a quality individual:   Realizing that they are not perfect and everything thing they do is not inherently the right thing.

    It's a humility that enables one to admit and correct mistakes -- or at least examine that they may have been mistakes.

    Humility.... Word of the day.
    edited September 3 JaiOh81muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 8 of 160
    “the road to hell is filled with good intentions”.

    this terrible but well-intended idea should be buried under a mile of cement.  
    JaiOh81mobirdmuthuk_vanalingamxyzzy-xxxBeatsjahbladecypresstreebaconstanghucom2000bloggerblog
  • Reply 9 of 160
    That is the mark of a quality corporation as well as a quality individual:   Realizing that they are not perfect and everything thing they do is not inherently the right thing.

    It's a humility that enables one to admit and correct mistakes -- or at least examine that they may have been mistakes.

    Was this the right thing or the wrong thing to do?  The mere fact that Apple sees that as a valid question speaks highly of them.
    Good job Apple!

    Drinking the Kool Aid George? 

    This is far from dead and you laud them forgetting the implications and actions that led to what they were going to do. It is like the convicted thief who repents after getting caught. He/she/they are still a thief until they establish otherwise through building a history of doing the right thing and one mere act to step back does not establish them as having changed. It just takes one lie to make someone dishonest, but it takes a massive number of honest acts to reestablish yourself as trustworthy after you have violated the compact of trust.

    Yes, I give them credit for pulling back, but praising their "humility" and framing it as right thing versus wrong thing speaks highly of them? Come on George. They screwed up big and only temporarily pulled back because the outrage and anger far exceeded anything they expected. This does not equate to "Realizing that they are not perfect or humility or any of the intrinsic characteristics you suggest. 

    With that one simple act, Apple destroyed several decades of the good will and trust they had built on the subject of privacy. It is not mended by them pulling back temporarily.
    edited September 3 9secondkox2mobirdchadbagwilliamlondonJMStearnsX2mike54byronlhucom2000bloggerblog
  • Reply 10 of 160
    technotechno Posts: 732member
    When the response is "We wish that this had come out a little more clearly for everyone because we feel very positive and strongly about what we're doing, and we can see that it's been widely misunderstood," you see that they just don't get it. 

    It is not how the message was delivered, it was the message itself.
    elijahgurahara9secondkox2mobirdmuthuk_vanalingamBeatsJMStearnsX2mike54byronlbb-15
  • Reply 11 of 160
    techno said:
    When the response is "We wish that this had come out a little more clearly for everyone because we feel very positive and strongly about what we're doing, and we can see that it's been widely misunderstood," you see that they just don't get it. 

    It is not how the message was delivered, it was the message itself.
    IMHO, I think because the technology was already being used without public knowledge with other tech companies, Apple thought nobody would have a problem with it being used in their OS. 

    This is the same type of behavior where they thought throttling the battery in iOS 10.x would fix unexpected shutdowns without notifying the public in plain terms what they were doing and why with no option to turn it off. 

    Apple has the money and talent to market the features they want to push, they just didn’t make those a priority in these cases. They also know how to be successfully vague when pushing something they want to do and minimize blowback from the public. 

    The upside for everyone is that now there are more tech experts keeping an eye on Apple to make sure they are more transparent in what they do. This whole environmentally responsible thing started after a Chinese journalist saw how Apple’s manufacturing partners were dumping toxic waste back into the environment. Apple knew about it, but didn’t act, until they were blackmailed into doing something or risk being exposed. 

    This whole rethinking of CSAM is to preserve iPhone sales, and not because of anything else. 
    elijahg9secondkox2JaiOh81mike54
  • Reply 12 of 160
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 627member
    Preserving sales? Well, that IS their business. Versus policing the internet. 
    9secondkox2Beatsravnorodombaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 160
    Spying on your customers is not good business or a way to honor a supposed commitment to privacy.

    I have no tolerance or use for people who exploit children - or adults - and would have no problem with the death penalty for such conduct. 

    But that does not justify such a practice as this. This is Apple’s attempt to cave to big brother government that wants your devices under constant surveillance. The potential for this technology to make false accusations and the resulting destruction of reputation is immense. Once your reputation is damaged by such an accusation it is simply beyond restoration - you will always be suspect.

    The privacy of our digital devices has been litigated to death and the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court wrote the opinion telling the Donut Patrol to get a warrant. He stated that our digital devices have essentially become extensions of our homes in regards to privacy and that should extend to the iCloud service. The cops want to sit back, surveil you 24/7/365 and that is not what our laws say our rights are. The cops need to get back to good old fashioned police work and stop trying to create Orwell’s Telescreen with our phones.
    9secondkox2tommikelemobirdmuthuk_vanalingamxyzzy-xxxJaiOh81argonautJMStearnsX2baconstangmike54
  • Reply 14 of 160
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,260member
    How many of the people screaming about CSAM have Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and google apps on their devices and an Amazon or google smart speaker in their home?
    9secondkox2williamlondonGeorgeBMacjahbladeradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 160
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    MplsP said:
    How many of the people screaming about CSAM have Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and google apps on their devices and an Amazon or google smart speaker in their home?
    Implying Apple is not any worse than "everyone else" is not a ringing endorsement. 
    edited September 3 tommikelemuthuk_vanalingambaconstangmike54ronnchemengin1
  • Reply 16 of 160
    Sounds like Apple is just taking the frog in the frying pan approach. 

    They willl still force this through, but only after the initial freak out is over and people forget. 

    Then they’ll claim to have improved it and people will already be softened up. A classic historical move used by dictators and manipulators. 

    Not liking apples language here. 

    Sounds very much like the political double speech we’ve been hearing throughout the Afghan withdrawal. 

    Apple, remember who you are snd just speak truly and clearly and with finality. Don’t play word games at get political about matters. Just make the best products your customers genuinely love and stick to that. 
    mike54
  • Reply 17 of 160
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,725member
    Good for them. 
    This was bungled from day one, both in announcement, and in the design of what they wanted to do. The stated goal is fine, but it was handled astoundingly badly, especially for a company like Apple that normally does these things so well.
    As I’ve thought all along, if they want to scan what’s on their servers, in iCloud, I’m fine with that. They are liable for any such material they are hosting. It was the initial work to be done on our devices that was the problem. That was also what posed the most risk to human rights activists and others. 
    baconstang
  • Reply 18 of 160
    gatorguy said:
    That is the mark of a quality corporation as well as a quality individual:   Realizing that they are not perfect and everything thing they do is not inherently the right thing.

    It's a humility that enables one to admit and correct mistakes -- or at least examine that they may have been mistakes.

    Humility.... Word of the day.
    Lol. I am sure George wouldn't understand the reason for your post or that it was directed at him.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 160
    MplsP said:
    How many of the people screaming about CSAM have Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and google apps on their devices and an Amazon or google smart speaker in their home?
    I won't use a smart speaker, but regarding Facebook & co. you are comparing apples to oranges – just don't give these apps access to your photos etc. and think about what you are uploading and you will be fine.
    Beatswilliamlondon
  • Reply 20 of 160
    Child Sexual Abuse Material - CSAM would affect to many powerful people in all walks of life!  I will not list the whos who since I may be “Cancelled”. 
    lkruppravnorodom
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