Expert Warns That Apple Will Likely Bring Back Privacy Invasion Tech To Spy On Citizens

( )- Privacy experts from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with other organizations, successfully delayed Apple’s plan to scan photos on Apple devices regardless of whether users wanted it or not. But in a report released this week the EFF is warning Apple consumers not to become complacent, saying that Apple’s delay in implementing the program “may well be a diversionary tactic.”

In August, Apple detailed several new features it was introducing in an effort to stop the dissemination of child sexual abuse materials. The program, using CSAM scanners, would allow Apple to compare images on users’ devices against a set of known CSAM hashes provided by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The backlash from cryptographers and privacy advocates was swift, largely due to Apple’s decision to not only scan iCloud photos, but also check for matches on a user’s iPhone or iPad as well. After weeks of vehement opposition, including from Edward Snowden, Apple decided to stand down.

But have they?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation doesn’t think so. EFF believes that since Apple holds its big product announcements every September where they detail the new devices and features they plan to roll out, it is likely Apple didn’t want the controversy over this image scanning feature to “steal the spotlight” away from the roll-out announcement.

Now that the September event is over, EFF explains in their report, privacy advocates must keep the pressure on to force Apple to reach out to the groups that have criticized the program and seek a wider range of suggestions on how to juggle privacy concerns with protecting children online.

To that end, EFF will be holding an event with various groups that work in this field to share research and concerns that Apple and other tech companies should find useful.

Ordinarily Apple tends to announce big features without warning, EFF explains. And that practice is especially dangerous when it comes to “making sweeping changes to technology as essential as secure messaging.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said that while other companies are moving toward encryption and privacy, “it’s an open question whether Apple will continue to be one of them.”