WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart took aim at Apple on his Twitter account saying that the iPhone-maker’s plan to scan images to detect child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is ‘’ the wrong approach and a setback for people’s privacy all over the world’. Cathcart said that they won’t adapt this system to WhatsApp.
Apple recently announced new child safety measures including a new system that will scan iPhone images before they are stored onto iCloud to detect child pornography.
It also announced that it’ll warn children, and also their parents, when they receive and send sexually explicit photos on iMessages. The company said the changes would arrive later this year with iOS 15 and iPadOS 15.
Although some people agree that the measures will help protect child safety, many people, now including WhatsApp Head Will Cathcart, criticized the plans saying that they’re against user privacy.
‘’Apple has long needed to do more to fight CSAM, but the approach they are taking introduces something very concerning into the world.’’ said Catchart on his Twitter account. ‘’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.’’
Will this system be used in China? What content will they consider illegal there and how will we ever know? How will they manage requests from governments all around the world to add other types of content to the list for scanning?— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) August 6, 2021
He also said that Apple’s new software could be exploited by spyware companies.
What will happen when spyware companies find a way to exploit this software? Recent reporting showed the cost of vulnerabilities in iOS software as is. What happens if someone figures out how to exploit this new system?— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) August 6, 2021
An internal memo, shared by 9to5Mac, shows that Apple is well aware of the privacy-focused concerns:
”We’ve seen many positive responses today. We know some people have misunderstandings, and more than a few are worried about the implications, but we will continue to explain and detail the features so people understand what we’ve built. And while a lot of hard work lays ahead to deliver the features in the next few months, I wanted to share this note that we received today from NCMEC. I found it incredibly motivating, and hope that you will as well.”
What do you think?