Apple backs down on CSAM features, postpones launch

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  • Reply 81 of 158
    tommikele said:
    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.
    I agree.  I have lost faith and I have been busy divesting out of the ecosystem for the last month.  Moving out of photos and imessage so far.  Will be giving up on icloud as my i replace the services backing into it.  And I am also looking into getting a personal email account and just give up on that from apple.  Perhaps it wasnt a good idea to put so much faith in one company for two decades.
    xyzzy-xxxdarkvader
  • Reply 82 of 158
    jdwjdw Posts: 1,128member
    Precisely what I asked for and hoped for.  A postponement was the right decision for Apple to make. 

    If it's really the best course of action, Apple now has time to make its case before its users and the tech media.  If ultimately it isn't a good idea, this extra time will allow Apple and everyone else to see that, leading to a cancellation of the idea altogether.
    macplusplushenrybaymobird
  • Reply 83 of 158
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,543moderator
    gatorguy said:
    mr. h said:
    henrybay said:
    Great news! Apple listened. Their CSAM concept made a mockery of Apple’s privacy ethos. Even though it was well intentioned, it would have turned our iPhones into digital Stasi officers monitoring our every move. 

    Apple should turn their attention to screening cloud services where much of this offensive material is apparently stored and shared. But they should leave our iPhones alone. Our phones should be sacrosanct paragons of privacy. 
    The irony of this post is sky-high.

    Their CSAM concept was actually an extremely clever way of enabling all of your photos to be uploaded to iCloud fully encrypted (without giving Apple the keys), such that neither Apple nor anyone else (should they hack into iCloud, or be law-enforcement with a warrant) would have been able to inspect the photos in iCloud, with the exception of any individual photos that matched a CSAM hash, with the proviso that even then, there would have to be at least 30 photos that matched known CSAM material, before even that was possible.

    But now, since they have backed down, all of your photos will continue to be uploaded to iCloud unencrypted, where Apple, law enforcement, and any hackers will be able to inspect all of your photos.

    Which one of these two scenarios offers the most privacy?
    Why are you and a couple of others so convinced this was all because Apple was prepared to E2E encrypt the whole shebang?  In truth there is no way they could have done so for half their entire user base as China would have barred them from the country if they did. You honestly think Apple was willing to cut revenues by a third or more? 

    I get that you really REALLY want to paint a glowing picture of "gosh Apple is doing this for us", but is there any even circumstantial evidence Apple was ready to make everything end-to-end encrypted in a way they could not access any of your data even if they were ordered to? Not as far as I know. It's more of a hope and prayer since otherwise it's not for the betterment of us users. 
    So no objection to the Minority Report crowd who so readily projects into the future how Apple will start scanning for all manner of other things, but you object to those who project that Apple might, in the future, make a more secure iCloud.  Gotcha.  
    baconstangrobabajony0
  • Reply 84 of 158
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,650member
    AI_lias 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.

    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!

    Apple and humility in the same sentence? Give me a break. They have a problem in admitting and correcting mistakes, look no further than the butterfly keyboard. This is a company that has reached monopoly size, and increasingly throws its weight around because people are locked into their ecosystem. 

    That's true.  Their history of humility (especially since Steve) has not been great.   But I give them credit for it this time.

    I think this clip of Steve says a lot:  While he's proud of what he created he realizes that he doesn't have the perfect answer for everybody. 



    Offtopic but it also shows how Jobs always wanted what's best for the customer. Cook wants what's best for the shareholder, which is a lot of what's wrong with modern Apple.
    baconstangmacplusplusxyzzy-xxxmobird
  • Reply 85 of 158
    mr. hmr. h Posts: 4,841member
    omair said:
    tommikele said:
    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.
    I agree.  I have lost faith and I have been busy divesting out of the ecosystem for the last month.  Moving out of photos and imessage so far.  Will be giving up on icloud as my i replace the services backing into it.  And I am also looking into getting a personal email account and just give up on that from apple.  Perhaps it wasnt a good idea to put so much faith in one company for two decades.
    Please could you let us know what alternatives you are using, and how you went about verifying that they don't have any similar (or worse) features? For the avoidance of doubt, this is a genuine question.
    radarthekatroundaboutnowjony0
  • Reply 86 of 158
    They were utter morons to do this in the first place. 

    Glad that good sense prevailed, seemingly after all other options were exhausted. 
    elijahgbaconstangmuthuk_vanalingammobirdchemengin1darkvader
  • Reply 87 of 158
    CSAM would only hurt Apple with an imminent iPhone 
    lauch only a couple weeks away 
    There might be more risk than reward in CSAM
    APPLE should stick to what it does best as opposed to being the C.I.A
    baconstangmuthuk_vanalingamxyzzy-xxxdarkvader
  • Reply 88 of 158
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,924member
    elijahg said:
    MplsP said:
    gatorguy said:
    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. 
    xyzzy-xxx said:
    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.
    my point was not comparing Apple to any of these other corporations. My point was that it's a bit hypocritical to be completely ok with all of these other 'services' snooping, scraping, monetizing and otherwise surveilling your personally life and then to start screaming about Apple trying to do something to protect the most vulnerable people in society in a way that preserves people's privacy.

    Everyone makes the obligatory statement that they're against exploiting children, but somehow they're not willing to put their money where their mouth is. But they are willing to give up their privacy for the ability to brag about their vacation, post conspiracy theories and snoop on their neighbors. I find it a very sad commentary on people's values.
    That's because people make a choice to use FB/IG/Twitter etc, they make a choice to lose privacy over the photo they post, and they are posting that photo to someone else's device. Plus, they agreed to scanning for "objectionable material" when they signed up. No service - not even Google or FB, scans the photos on your own device. Apple was going to install spyware on people's own devices without permission, and with no choice. No one agreed to Apple scanning devices for CSAM when they bought their phones. 

    Ceasing to use FB/IG/Twitter doesn't cost a penny. Ceasing to use an iPhone could cost a lot of cash, especially if you are deeply invested in the ecosystem. 
    I chose not to use iCloud photo. That’s where the hash scan feature resides. 
  • Reply 89 of 158
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,472member
    gatorguy said:
    mr. h said:
    henrybay said:
    Great news! Apple listened. Their CSAM concept made a mockery of Apple’s privacy ethos. Even though it was well intentioned, it would have turned our iPhones into digital Stasi officers monitoring our every move. 

    Apple should turn their attention to screening cloud services where much of this offensive material is apparently stored and shared. But they should leave our iPhones alone. Our phones should be sacrosanct paragons of privacy. 
    The irony of this post is sky-high.

    Their CSAM concept was actually an extremely clever way of enabling all of your photos to be uploaded to iCloud fully encrypted (without giving Apple the keys), such that neither Apple nor anyone else (should they hack into iCloud, or be law-enforcement with a warrant) would have been able to inspect the photos in iCloud, with the exception of any individual photos that matched a CSAM hash, with the proviso that even then, there would have to be at least 30 photos that matched known CSAM material, before even that was possible.

    But now, since they have backed down, all of your photos will continue to be uploaded to iCloud unencrypted, where Apple, law enforcement, and any hackers will be able to inspect all of your photos.

    Which one of these two scenarios offers the most privacy?
    Why are you and a couple of others so convinced this was all because Apple was prepared to E2E encrypt the whole shebang?  In truth there is no way they could have done so for half their entire user base as China would have barred them from the country if they did. You honestly think Apple was willing to cut revenues by a third or more? 

    I get that you really REALLY want to paint a glowing picture of "gosh Apple is doing this for us", but is there any even circumstantial evidence Apple was ready to make everything end-to-end encrypted in a way they could not access any of your data even if they were ordered to? Not as far as I know. It's more of a hope and prayer since otherwise it's not for the betterment of us users. 
    So no objection to the Minority Report crowd who so readily projects into the future how Apple will start scanning for all manner of other things, but you object to those who project that Apple might, in the future, make a more secure iCloud.  Gotcha.  
    No objection to it at all if Apple has the courage to do the right thing and thumb their nose at China, take back their iCloud service there, and enact E2EE in order to have an actually secure Cloud service. Do you believe they do? 

    So no, you didn't "get me" at all. 
    edited September 2021 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 90 of 158
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    A triumph of misinformation and hysteria.
    fastasleep[Deleted User]robabajony0
  • Reply 91 of 158
    Illusive said:
    Illusive said:
    Illusive said:
    Does anyone here realize THIS means iCloud Photos stay virtually unencrypted, just as they have been since at least 2020? That CSAM thingy was supposed to scan the pics on-device so that they could be uploaded securely to iCloud if they don't violate the policy. 
    But this is the back door officials are looking for… what good is e2e encryption if there is any point in the process where data can be transmitted so that it notifies a 3rd party of what it may contain? If there’s any point where data can be transmitted, it renders the purpose of encryption useless.

    While apples solution won’t transmit anything until a certain threshold is met, the capability is there to transmit info about the data being encrypted, which necessarily circumvents the e2e process.  It becomes a “we promise and absolutely swear we won’t do anything else” which is as good as no e2e encryption.  This is a slippery slope, and new “features” could feasibly added touting the “success” of the on device scanning, and so it would begin…

    The data may technically be e2e encrypted, but the weak point becomes just outside the front door.  If something or someone is sitting there, watching what is going in or coming out, then what good is having opaque walls?  If I knew someone was watching my front door (which in this case we do), I’d just do my criminal stuff somewhere else.

    This also opens the door for bad actors to exploit this system… people have already started poking and prodding the disabled version of this in ios14.

    I personally consider iCloud photos to be public, and act accordingly, despite any “niceties” Apple may provide in terms of privacy of the service.  While I’d like to see icloud photos encrypted so that absolutely the only intended parties can see them (people I’ve shared with), I would not accept this on device scanning to achieve that.

    TL;DR. Stopped reading after 'slippery slope'. Sorry, dude :D You wanna sound serious, get technical first. My guess is you watch too much YouTube - and possibly read too much conspiracy fiction, too.

    Anyway, opt out of iCloud Photos if you're anxious about someone flipping through your cat pics. This generation is just beyond silly.
    First part, not helpful! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

    Second part, somewhat helpful, but I’d add for those who don’t wish for the scanning on their device to stay on 14 or lower, and for those who absolutely want to be sure, stop using iCloud photos altogether (which the smart criminals will do anyways).

    “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” - Benjamin Franklin

    “There is no justification for taking away individuals' freedom in the guise of public safety.” - Thomas Jefferson

    “Trade liberty for safety or money and you'll end up with neither. Liberty, like a grain of salt, easily dissolves. The power of questioning - not simply believing - has no friends. Yet liberty depends on it.” - Thomas Jefferson

    Don’t give me that Uncle Sam stuff, man :D It ain’t technical, so I literally don’t care. As for the update holdouts, they will update sooner or later anyway. We’ve been there already. 

    This whole discussion is a waste of time. You want your liberties, go for them. Just make sure your actions don’t make things worse for those of us who aren’t paranoid. 
    Yet… here you are… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    due to the industry I am in, I have dealt with the technical side of this stuff, but I am not sure the  actual technical details are relevant… that is the how… Dont dev me wrong, their implementation is super cool, but…

    Another more recent quote I like to use, because I see bad tech designs/decisions all the time is:

    “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” - Dr. Ian Malcolm
    baconstanghenrybay
  • Reply 92 of 158
    mike54 said:
    This is not about CSAM or protecting the children at all. This is all about deploying the software framework, the mechanism on every Apple device for future use cases. Privacy is out of the window with this software. Don't only look at today, look at the morrow.

    Apple should not allow this software on Apple devices.
    Idiotic. The "framework" is already running every day on your device. You have Spotlight indexing everything every day. You have Photos using machine learning to identify faces and pets and objects every day. What's to stop Apple from exfiltrating that data at any point? This feature adds absolutely nothing more nefarious than those things that nobody seems to have a problem with and that you can't even opt out of if you wanted to. Live Text is coming to iOS 15 and macOS Monterey and is going to make a whole lot of image-based text indexable, why aren't people freaking out about that?
    roundaboutnow[Deleted User]jony0Detnator
  • Reply 93 of 158
    omair said:
    tommikele said:
    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.
    I agree.  I have lost faith and I have been busy divesting out of the ecosystem for the last month.  Moving out of photos and imessage so far.  Will be giving up on icloud as my i replace the services backing into it.  And I am also looking into getting a personal email account and just give up on that from apple.  Perhaps it wasnt a good idea to put so much faith in one company for two decades.
    Why iMessage? Nothing even happens there unless you've got a Family setup and you turn on that feature for your under 13yo kid. Are you 12?
    roundaboutnowjony0
  • Reply 94 of 158
    On device spying is wrong. 

    Spying on my files on my server space, whether free or paid is wrong. 

    It’s not a website with content for others to look at. It’s my personal stuff. 

    If Apple wanted to do this, iCloud needs to always be off by default and their needs to a be a warning when you go to turn it on snd a confirmation. 

    No one wants people snooping. 

    Not to mention any political retaliation for different groups views as the potential for abiding and infrastructure like this is definitely there. 
    xyzzy-xxxelijahgdarkvader
  • Reply 95 of 158
    omair said:
    tommikele said:
    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.
    I agree.  I have lost faith and I have been busy divesting out of the ecosystem for the last month.  Moving out of photos and imessage so far.  Will be giving up on icloud as my i replace the services backing into it.  And I am also looking into getting a personal email account and just give up on that from apple.  Perhaps it wasnt a good idea to put so much faith in one company for two decades.
    ...Also @omair: ;
    'moving out' of the Internet - and on to a Nokia 3310 (1st gen) + IBM PC/XT, I guess. Don't forget the tin foil!

    On a more serious note, this does say a lot about Apple's fan bases' technological literacy. 
    edited September 2021
  • Reply 96 of 158
    On device spying is wrong. 

    Spying on my files on my server space, whether free or paid is wrong. 

    It’s not a website with content for others to look at. It’s my personal stuff. 

    If Apple wanted to do this, iCloud needs to always be off by default and their needs to a be a warning when you go to turn it on snd a confirmation. 

    No one wants people snooping. 

    Not to mention any political retaliation for different groups views as the potential for abiding and infrastructure like this is definitely there. 
    How come comments are still on for these posts? I genuinely do not understand.
    edited September 2021
  • Reply 97 of 158

    Yet… here you are… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    due to the industry I am in, I have dealt with the technical side of this stuff, but I am not sure the  actual technical details are relevant… that is the how… Dont dev me wrong, their implementation is super cool, but…

    Another more recent quote I like to use, because I see bad tech designs/decisions all the time is:

    “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should.” - Dr. Ian Malcolm
    I see. A quote from an old action movie is certainly of more relevance here :D 
    edited September 2021
  • Reply 98 of 158
    crowley said:
    A triumph of misinformation and hysteria.
    Says a lot about society nowadays. Clueless folks with endless outreach, right at their fingertips. 
    jony0
  • Reply 99 of 158
    mr. h said:
    gatorguy said:

    I get that you really REALLY want to paint a glowing picture of "gosh Apple is doing this for us", but is there any even circumstantial evidence Apple was ready to make everything end-to-end encrypted in a way they could not access any of your data even if they were ordered to? Not as far as I know. It's more of a hope and prayer since otherwise it's not for the betterment of us users. 
    All I can say about that is that the whole scheme would be totally pointless if they weren't going to encrypt the photos. Why go to all the effort of designing this enormously complicated system, calculating hashes on-device, doing the CSAM hash-matching in a "blind" way so even the device itself doesn't know if there's been a match, and then going to all the convoluted effort of generating doubly-encrypted "vouchers" and associated "image information", if the photo itself was uploaded to iCloud unencrypted?

    Certainly, this system would enable the photos to be uploaded to iCloud encrypted, but I concede that as far as I know, Apple hasn't said that they would do that. It's just that, as I said, the whole scheme seems totally pointless if the photos are uploaded to the server in the clear anyway.

    How about Apple just offers a toggle in iCloud photos settings? The two options would be:

    1. Photos are CSAM-scanned and encrypted before being uploaded to iCloud.
    2. Photos are not CSAM-scanned, but are uploaded to iCloud in the clear. The server then does the CSAM scan.

    Would this solution make everyone happier?
    Yup, that would make at least 99% of the users happy. There are few odd ones out, but this would be a workable solution imho. 
    JaiOh81jony0
  • Reply 100 of 158
    lkrupp said:
    Dead_Pool said:
    Subway’s Jared tweets his appreciation!
    Think of the children who will suffer abuse because a few privacy wackos don’t want Apple to scan their photos. Fuck those kids, right?
    Nope. Apple can very well scan the photos in iCloud and report it to authorities. They have the keys to decrypt the files stored in iCloud, so there is NOTHING that is preventing Apple from doing it and NO ONE is against this. The opposition is only for doing the scan ON the device, NOT in iCloud.
    chadbag said:
    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." — Craig Federighi 

    It is what is happening.  How else do they create the “magical” hashes? It is happening on the phone.  So, Craig, why do you say that is not what is happening when that is exactly what is happening?

    So you call creation of a checksum scanning a file?  Is that what you’re saying?  Apple is simply creating a hash from each photo to be uploaded.  It can then compare that hash to hashes created against the photos in a CSAM database.  This is pretty innocuous. 
    The devil is always in the DETAILS. A simple hash would NEVER match for even trivially "modified" images with CSAM database hashes. BUT, Apple is claiming that even "modified" versions of CSAM images would be flagged by the system. How??? Without proper analysis of the images through AI/ML algorithms on the device, this is not going to be feasible. Innocuous - NOT.
    edited September 2021 darkvader
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