As previously reported, Apple had recently announced plans to roll out a new feature that scans various content on its mobile devices and iCloud platform to detect illegal materials that violate child safety. The move was panned as controversial by a number of tech experts, even resulting in them signing an open letter as an attempt to convince the company to not go forward with the implementation.
Apple’s supposed gambit to champion child safety also brought in criticism from WhatsApp head Will Carthcart. In a thread posted on Twitter, Cathcart argues that the new feature is basically a “surveillance system that could very easily be used to scan private content for anything [Apple] or a government decides it wants to control.” He also expressed concerns on the possibility that the approach could be exploited by authorities, especially by governments such as China’s – which has been often said to control and censor content published by its citizens.
Cathcart continued to slam on Apple’s free reign on deciding what can or can’t be done on its ecosystem, noticing a bias towards moves that benefits the company – even those that blatantly breaches user privacy. “Instead of focusing on making it easy for people to report content that’s 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,” he remarked.
This is an Apple built and operated surveillance system that could very easily be used to scan private content for anything they or a government decides it wants to control. Countries where iPhones are sold will have different definitions on what is acceptable.
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) August 6, 2021
It’s also worth reminding that WhatsApp is a subsidiary to Facebook – a company that is still locking horns with Apple over privacy-related disputes for quite some time now. Therefore, it isn’t surprising for members under the social media giant to jump onto the opportunity to take issue with the iPhone maker’s plans. However, Facebook and its subsidiaries themselves are no strangers to issues that are related to user privacy either, as most of us have learned throughout the years.
(Source: Will Cathcart [Twitter])