Apple should scan iPhones for child abuse images, says scanning technology inventor

Published:  Sun 31 Jul 2022

Written by:  Alex Hern, Guardian Technology editor

Apple should take heed of warnings from the UK’s security services and revive its controversial plans to scan iPhones for child abuse imagery, the inventor of the scanning technology has argued.

Prof Hany Farid, an expert in image analysis at University of California, Berkeley, is the inventor of PhotoDNA, an “image hashing” technique used by companies across the web to identify and remove illegal images. He said that, following an intervention from the technical leads of GCHQ and the National Cyber Security Centre backing an extension of the technology on to individual phones, Apple should be emboldened to revive its shelved plans to do just that.

“The pushback was from a relatively small number of privacy groups,” Farid said, speaking to the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) on the child safety group’s latest podcast. “I contend that the vast majority of people would have said ‘sure, this seems perfectly reasonable’, but yet a relatively small but vocal group put a huge amount of pressure on Apple and I think Apple, somewhat cowardly, succumbed to that pressure.

Read more at The Guardian.

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