I'm all for stopping vile criminals, but given the trajectory of authoritarianism in society and the unholy alliance between Big Tech and big government, you can bet I share concerns over this announcement:
The software, to be added to iOS and iPadOS in an update later this year, will perform "on-device" scans of users' images that are uploaded to iCloud, and match them against a database of sexually explicit content of children, the company announced Thursday. If enough images match content in the database, Apple will manually review them and report the user to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), according to the announcement.
The company will also add new tools to its Messages app that alert children and their parents if they receive or send sexually explicit images, using on-device scans that detect sexual content in message attachments. Apple will blur the sexually explicit photo, and said the child would be provided with "helpful resources" and "reassured."
None of this is inherently bad at face value. Protecting kids is 100% a good thing, and stopping predators is also 100% a good thing.
That being said, a lot of really bad invasions of God-given rights are being ushered in these days in the name of really good things.
Say, for example, that Apple decided to scan phones for "misinformation" at some point in our near-certain Orwellian future. Such a backdoor into scanning users' iCloud accounts would allow for such a provision.
I'm not the only one who thinks so:
"All it would take to widen the narrow backdoor that Apple is building is an expansion of the machine learning parameters to look for additional types of content, or a tweak of the configuration flags to scan, not just children's, but anyone's accounts," India McKinney and Erica Portnoy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote in a blog post.
"That's not a slippery slope; that's a fully built system just waiting for external pressure to make the slightest change," they said.
I hope you don't have any American flags, Bible verses, based memes, or boomsticks on your camera roll!
Cryptography professor Matthew Green from John Hopkins University leaked the details a day ahead of Apple's official announcement. He also believes this is an example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions.
Also, the infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden had some thoughts.
Apple has gone out of its way to market itself as the company that cares about privacy. In 2015, it refused to unlock the phone of the San Bernardino shooter for the FBI.
In 2025, I have a bad feeling it might willingly unlock the phones of hundreds of millions of people deemed "extremists" by their governments, becoming the very bad guy from its own 1984 ad:
* * *
P.S. While you're here, watch our latest video about the gaffemaster Joe Biden's "most profound and inspirational quotes" 😂 :