Image: Apple

Apple revealed in an article titled “expanded protections for children” yesterday that it would be scanning iPhones in the U.S. for images of child sexual abuse as part of its initiative for helping protect children.

Despite the company’s seemingly noble efforts, which can’t really be argued against, many readers have balked at the news, with some alleging that this is just a clever way for Apple to grant itself powers that allow it to inspect users’ personal files at will.

Following controversy from notables such as Edward Snowden and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, 9to5Mac has shared an internal memo being passed around at Apple that indicates the company is aware of the massive pushback but has no plans to divert course.

Instead, Apple will focus on educating people who have “misunderstandings” and are “worried about the implications” of its new scanning procedures. Apple insists that it’s still firmly committed to user privacy.

Image: Apple

Today marks the official public unveiling of Expanded Protections for Children, and I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for all of your hard work over the last few years. We would not have reached this milestone without your tireless dedication and resiliency.

Keeping children safe is such an important mission. In true Apple fashion, pursuing this goal has required deep cross-functional commitment, spanning Engineering, GA, HI, Legal, Product Marketing and PR. What we announced today is the product of this incredible collaboration, one that delivers tools to protect children, but also maintain Apple’s deep commitment to user privacy.

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.

I am proud to work at Apple with such an amazing team. Thank you!

Sources: Apple, 9to5Mac

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  1. Hmm – this should play out in some interesting fashion.

    I could see.. Apple saying they would scan anything that hits their cloud, but not extend that to local phone storage. That would make sense.

  2. Except that if it does find something, Apple will turn those images over to authorities. On one hand I hate pedo’s, but scanning your phone’s images is a huge violation of privacy. Apple is simply trying to tell users that it’s OK because it’s just Apple that will see what’s on your phone. We know companies like Samsung, Apple and Google already mine a ton of data, but this seems like a bridge too far.

    Saying its just looking for child porn is trying to hide their invasion of privacy and data mining under the guise of doing something few would dare oppose.

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