I actually was a child once and have children of my own so I can understand wanting to protect some of society’s most vulnerable people. A topic such as child porn is probably the worst possible thing that could occur.
Thus supporting the fight to prevent bad things from occurring is a truly noble and Apple has stepped up to fight this problem. Unlike arguments of creating more or bigger safety nets for society there are two possible outcomes and both can be correct depending on your position. This is not true for child porn and sexual predators there is no positive argument thus this issue tends to be used to implement new rules, regulations or restrictions.
Yet, in order to support this very admirable goal Apple has decided its users have to give up an element of our privacy. The plan is photos from our iPhones will be scanned for known child pornography prior to be uploaded to the Apple cloud. In addition to this the iMessage service will be also be scanning for text and photos that are not suitable for minors.
I do not want anyone to use modern technology and social media to inappropriately reach my children but lets look at Apple’s change from another view.
Apple will have a world wide infrastructure to monitoring photos and text that should not be shared. The authorities will be informed if this occurs “too many times”.
If we look at this change on its face value this is a great way to scoop up a few of the technological naive people who think technology is a magic cloak. The problem is that this international companies are responsible to answering to many different governments some of which have differing ideas on privacy or what is acceptable. This means that dictators or authoritarian regimes can replace “child pornography” with memes and track anyone who sends anti-government texts. Too many times could be equal to 1.
The same reason why adding a government only back door to an encryption method will never be secure over the long run. Someone will discover it, break it or leak the secret password. The same is true about implementing this infrastructure, it will take the Apple corporation from one that tries to support privacy to “the authoritarians” favorite foreign cell phone maker.