MacDirectory Magazine

Asia Ladowska

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 12 of 123

Unlike Apple’s upcoming CSAM Detection feature, which will only compare images to a database of known child abuse imagery, the new Messages Communication Safety feature uses on-device machine learning to analyze image attachments and determine if a photo is sexually explicit. In this case, the analysis is fair since we’re talking about individual child safety here, and not reporting people to law enforcement. Except for the parental notifications, which are also securely transmitted using iMessage’s standard end-to-end encryption, the child’s messages and shared content never leave their device. For Families Only While this feature has also sparked some similar controversy among privacy advocates, it’s important to keep in mind that Apple has designed this with a very narrow scope. For one thing, Apple has not thrown the door open to on-device scanning all content that comes through the Messages app. While one could argue that this could be the beginning of a slippery slope, the machine learning algorithms in iOS have already been scanning users’ photos for years for faces and objects — all directly on Apple’s A-series chips without involving cloud servers. This is really no different, since everything remains on the device. There is no “reporting” here, apart from notifying parents about what their kids may be up to. While there’s obviously the possibility that Apple could someday find a way to collect that information, it could have done the same thing when it introduced photo scanning in iOS 10 five years ago. Further, Apple has made it clear that the Communication Safety feature is designed exclusively for families — it’s coming “in an update later this year to accounts set up as families in iCloud.” Much like other Family Setup features in iCloud, like Ask to Buy, this also only applies to children. This scanning will not occur at all for users who are over the age of 18, or even younger users who are not part of an iCloud Family Setup. Parents will also have to opt in before the feature will be enabled, after which all users under the age of 18 will see sensitive photos appear blurred and receive warnings about sensitive content; however, parents will only be able to receive notifications when the child is under the age of 13. Communication Safety in Messages will be added in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey later this year for users in the US. Siri and Spotlight Searches Apple is also adding some additional resources in Siri and Search to help users get guidance on how to report child exploitation, as well as intervening when users search for things related to Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). For example, Apple notes that users who ask Siri how to report CSAM will be pointed to resources that explain where and how they can file a report. Siri will also try to intervene in the case of users who actually search for CSAM. Naturally, it’s not going to report anybody to the authorities based on a search request, but it will remind users that “material depicting the sexual abuse of children is illegal,” while pointing them to anonymous helplines “for adults with at-risk thoughts and behaviour.” These updates to Siri and Search will also be coming later this year in an update to iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, and macOS Monterey, although like the other child safety features, it will initially only be rolling out to users in the US.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MacDirectory Magazine - Asia Ladowska