Bill Maher declares Apple CSAM tools a 'blatant constitutional breach'

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in iOS
Comedian and talk show host Bill Maher has waded into the debate over Apple's CSAM tools, declaring them a "blatant constitutional breach" against its users.




The CSAM debate over Apple's tools for detecting child pornography has a new high-profile participant, with comedian Bill Maher using a segment of his "Real Time" talk show to complain about the move.

The eight-minute segment starts with the outspoken host describing the tools as an update that will allow Apple to "hack into your phone without your consent to snoop through all your pictures, just in case you're a pedophile."

After saying he is against pedophilia, Maher goes on to say "nosing through everybody's private photo stash is casting an awfully wide, intrusive net." He compares the idea to a safe manufacturer saying they will occasionally check the safe for illegal material.

"Our phones should be like our wallets or purses. Private," he states, before asking "What about probable cause? What about the fourth amendment?" Maher then declares it to be "the very definition of unreasonable search and seizure, which can and will be abused to find evidence of other illegal stuff on our phones."

Maher claims he doesn't see a "strong fight" against Apple's initiative, which he claims is due to people's dependence on their smartphones.

The remaining time of the segment segues away from the CSAM debate to Maher complaining about iPhones and smartphones negatively changing how people act and how society functions.

While Maher's segment largely glosses over what the CSAM tools do, misrepresenting Apple's scanning of file hashes for full-scale phone snooping, it is arguably one of the most public attacks Apple has had over the matter.

Maher joins a long line of civil rights groups, the German government, a German journalist union, and even some Apple employees in complaining about the CSAM tools, and in asking Apple to reconsider their implementation.

Apple SVP of software engineering Craig Federighi admitted on August 13 that Apple's introduction of the tools could have been handled better, with its communication "widely misunderstood." Apple has also been performing damage control, by offering further explanations of the system, and detailing how security researchers can perform their own checks.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 106
    DoomFreakDoomFreak Posts: 19unconfirmed, member
    Just using this as a good reason to spy on people
    mike54cat52maikysupraBeatschemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 106
    tedz98tedz98 Posts: 72member
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. So the techies at Apple have no understanding of how the general public perceives what they are doing. They just think Apple is scanning their phone. I’m not a huge Bill Maher fan, but I agree with him here. It’s a slippery slope that Apple is embarking on.
    caladanianmike54baconstanganantksundaramjfdesignsxyzzy-xxxelijahgcat52chemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 106
    For Apple to be this bad at damage control is very off-brand.

    Just about everything Maher said was incorrect, but it will be passed around as gospel because Apple has done such a poor job getting the fact of the case out. It is time for full-page ads and volunteering to be on shows like 60 Minutes where it can broadcast the details of this feature which (A) has to be opted-in, and (B) which is to be used by parents who have minor children on their same family account. Nothing here about “snooping in the private photos” of adult users.

    It is no small amount of irony that misinformation about Apple’s plan will be spread on Facebook, where privacy is an abstract concept and personal information has long since been mined and sold for profit. But that same person will have white knuckles from clutching the pearls so tightly.
    edited August 21 killroystructurerpscooter63mwhiteEsquireCatslightvox88chemengin1stevenoz
  • Reply 4 of 106
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,774member
    Bill Maher is an idiot. 
    KTRkillroywilliamlondonindieshackn2itivguybloggerblogronnpscooter63Wgkruegerforegoneconclusion
  • Reply 5 of 106
    mac_dogmac_dog Posts: 914member
    But I bet he has nothing to say about Israel committing genocide on the Palestinian people. He should stick to comedy. 
    killroywilliamlondonmike54bloggerblogRonnyDaddydanox
  • Reply 6 of 106
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,774member

    Just about everything Maher said was incorrect, but it will be passed around as gospel because Apple has done such a poor job getting the fact of the case out. It is time for full-page ads and volunteering to be on shows like 60 Minutes where it can broadcast the details of this feature which (A) has to be opted-in, and (B) which is to be used by parents who have minor children on their same family account. Nothing here about “snooping in the private photos” of adult users.
    You’re describing one of two very different features. The other one most definitely pertains to adult users’ photos, though his description of how it works is incorrect. 
    killroymuthuk_vanalingamjony0
  • Reply 7 of 106
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,819member
    Watched the segments it was riddled with inaccuracies. Invoking the Constitution is moronic, and Bill Maher claiming that phones make people asshole is funny, he's been an asshole for years. 
    edited August 21 fastasleepkillroyArchStantonronnpscooter63WgkruegermwhitesconosciutoazentropyStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 106
    jdwjdw Posts: 998member
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. 

    That really is the entire point which many who are defending Apple's move are ignoring. Nothing else matters, and certainly not the technical way in which CSAM scanning works.  That's precisely why I've said in other threads that Apple is now obligated to at the very least DELAY the release until they can do PR damage control and at least try to win more public support.  They cannot do that between now and the release of iOS 15, so the feature must be pulled from iOS 15 and delay the release until at least iOS 16.  And if they never get public support and the matter seems only to get worse and worse, then the idea may need to be permanently shelved.

    This is Tim Cook's call now.  It's no doubt a hard call for him because he's played social justice warrior at times in the past, and this no doubt would seem like a step back for him.  But it's a call he has to make and make soon.
    macplusplusmuthuk_vanalingambaconstangkiehtanxyzzy-xxxelijahgcat52
  • Reply 9 of 106
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,819member
    jdw said:
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. 

    That really is the entire point which many who are defending Apple's move are ignoring. Nothing else matters, and certainly not the technical way in which CSAM scanning works.  That's precisely why I've said in other threads that Apple is now obligated to at the very least DELAY the release until they can do PR damage control and at least try to win more public support.  They cannot do that between now and the release of iOS 15, so the feature must be pulled from iOS 15 and delay the release until at least iOS 16.  And if they never get public support and the matter seems only to get worse and worse, then the idea may need to be permanently shelved.

    This is Tim Cook's call now.  It's no doubt a hard call for him because he's played social justice warrior at times in the past, and this no doubt would seem like a step back for him.  But it's a call he has to make and make soon.
    They should shelve it not because of the merits or demerits of the system, but because the public don't understand it?  Spare me the pandering to the ignorant.  Proper arguments only.
    fastasleepkillroycaladanianmike54sireofsethronnpscooter63mwhiteStrangeDaysxyzzy-xxx
  • Reply 10 of 106
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 5,774member
    jdw said:
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. 

    That really is the entire point which many who are defending Apple's move are ignoring. Nothing else matters, and certainly not the technical way in which CSAM scanning works.  That's precisely why I've said in other threads that Apple is now obligated to at the very least DELAY the release until they can do PR damage control and at least try to win more public support.  They cannot do that between now and the release of iOS 15, so the feature must be pulled from iOS 15 and delay the release until at least iOS 16.  And if they never get public support and the matter seems only to get worse and worse, then the idea may need to be permanently shelved.

    This is Tim Cook's call now.  It's no doubt a hard call for him because he's played social justice warrior at times in the past, and this no doubt would seem like a step back for him.  But it's a call he has to make and make soon.
    You keep arguing they need to shelve this because you don’t understand it. The people that do understand it are not ignoring how file hashing works, and it’s intrinsically related to why people defend the feature. 
    killroymike54ronnpscooter63StrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 11 of 106
    genovellegenovelle Posts: 1,278member
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. So the techies at Apple have no understanding of how the general public perceives what they are doing. They just think Apple is scanning their phone. I’m not a huge Bill Maher fan, but I agree with him here. It’s a slippery slope that Apple is embarking on.
    The general public has no idea except what the media highlights here. He is a part of the problem, likely because he has or has had such materials on his phone. Only a hit dog hollas that loud. 
    edited August 21 killroy
  • Reply 12 of 106
    roakeroake Posts: 768member
    genovelle said:
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. So the techies at Apple have no understanding of how the general public perceives what they are doing. They just think Apple is scanning their phone. I’m not a huge Bill Maher fan, but I agree with him here. It’s a slippery slope that Apple is embarking on.
    The general public has no idea except what the media highlights here. He is a part of the problem, likely because he has or has had such materials on his phone. Only a hit dog hollas that loud. 
    Or because he doesn’t agree with spyware being factory-installed on billions of devices.  
    caladanianmike54Scot1muthuk_vanalingampscooter63baconstangnumenoreankiehtananantksundaramaderutter
  • Reply 13 of 106
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,076member
    This whole CSAM is tiring, it's been done by Google, MS, Tumblr, Reddit, and so on for YEARS! Apple just announced to make us know they're doing the same thing. I don't recall anyone batting an eye with MS, Google, Facebook, and so on. 

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/photodna

    ronnStrangeDayslordjohnwhorfindewmejony0
  • Reply 14 of 106
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,778member
    jdw said:
    tedz98 said:
    The general public has no understanding of what a file hash is. 

    That really is the entire point which many who are defending Apple's move are ignoring. Nothing else matters, and certainly not the technical way in which CSAM scanning works.  That's precisely why I've said in other threads that Apple is now obligated to at the very least DELAY the release until they can do PR damage control and at least try to win more public support.  They cannot do that between now and the release of iOS 15, so the feature must be pulled from iOS 15 and delay the release until at least iOS 16.  And if they never get public support and the matter seems only to get worse and worse, then the idea may need to be permanently shelved.

    This is Tim Cook's call now.  It's no doubt a hard call for him because he's played social justice warrior at times in the past, and this no doubt would seem like a step back for him.  But it's a call he has to make and make soon.
    How do you feel about Google & Facebook’s server-side CSAM scanning? And all the other scanning they do? Apple’s is the lightest of all.
    killroyronnStrangeDaysjony0
  • Reply 15 of 106
    Any talk of privacy not directly also including an outright attack on Android/Google and Facebook is no talk of privacy at all. 
    I'm glad to have the talk about privacy and Apple's CSAM. It's not a great place to plant the flag for privacy but that's the hand that's been dealt. But now include the majority of smartphone users in the world having their privacy tracked to a degree that if they printed to paper what data has been collected, it would easily surpass half a million pages. 
    Unfortunately most of the media people railing against CSAM are probably iPhone users. So privacy issue knocked on their door, now they care. How wonderful of them...
    killroylordjohnwhorfin
  • Reply 16 of 106
    Law enforcement has been hammering Apple about their strong security potentially hampering capture of child pornographers; well Apple is doing something about it. I don’t care about conceptual discussions about it being constitutionally sound - if it helps prevent this kind of crime I’m all for it.
    killroy
  • Reply 17 of 106
    Heh Appleinsider writers. You are repeatedly characterizing this technology as just fine because of hashes. If you think it’s great, I guess that’s your opinion. However, other people have very different opinions. Such as—clever technology does not negate the fact that this is an invasion of privacy—like the comedian says, without probable cause. Believing the method makes that ok is ridiculous. You can be very polite while you break into someone’s home. You could even mostly close your eyes. But ,you are still breaking in. 
    muthuk_vanalingambaconstangjdwnumenoreankiehtanaderutteremig647lordjohnwhorfincat52chemengin1
  • Reply 18 of 106
    crowleycrowley Posts: 8,819member
    Heh Appleinsider writers. You are repeatedly characterizing this technology as just fine because of hashes. If you think it’s great, I guess that’s your opinion. However, other people have very different opinions. Such as—clever technology does not negate the fact that this is an invasion of privacy—like the comedian says, without probable cause. Believing the method makes that ok is ridiculous. You can be very polite while you break into someone’s home. You could even mostly close your eyes. But ,you are still breaking in. 
    Apple's software, Apple's services, no breakage.
    indieshackkillroyronnStrangeDaysjony0Detnator
  • Reply 19 of 106
    mobirdmobird Posts: 639member
    Wonder if a injunction by who knows who might put a kabash on the release date of iOS 15?
  • Reply 20 of 106
    I love Bill. I've been watching him "Religiously" for the better part of a decade now. I watch his show mainly because it makes me laugh. He is not a reporter, he is a comedian. His program is more about entertainment than unbiased journalism. As such, despite some knowledgeable guests, I don't really expect it to eschew factual accuracy over a better punch line. People should stop judging some things over what they aren't, and start to see for what they are.
    I have the technical education to understand the intricacies of what Apple is proposing to do, understand the distinction from my iPhone and my iCloud, and the privacy implications of some carefully written terms of service. I also like to unclench my @ssh0l3 late at night and laugh at some jokes peppered with hyperbole for my amusement, no matter what is the subject, or my personal opinion.
    ronnkiehtanStrangeDaysdewmeroundaboutnowjony0
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