PowerKee’s Bastion of Privacy #38 — IPhone users weary of upcoming software upgrade
Concerns are growing over Apple’s upcoming iOS 15 upgrade. The upgrade is expected to be introduced in September. The tech giant’s claims that the upgrade will enhance the protection of children using their products. However, the upgrade will hold huge implications for the privacy of Apple users.
Apple has been highly praised over the years for the privacy protection of its users over the years. However, the new upgrade intends to regularly scan the iPhone photos of its users, infringing on their privacy rights in an attempt to uncover illicit activities. The upgrade aims to identify child sexual abuse materials (CSAM) and report users storing such photos on their iPhones to the authorities.
In the latest Bastion of Privacy, we analyze the implications of this development and the implications for the privacy of Apple users. We also consider the ripple effects of the development and how it may evolve into more pernicious privacy invasion scenarios.
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Apple criticized over iOS 15 upgrade
While Apple may be seeking to employ practices that are beneficial to government authorities, critics of this development have voiced their concerns in relation to what it means for the privacy rights of tech users worldwide. By establishing a surveillance system with unhindered access to the photo files of iPhone users, the upgrade will certainly encroach on the privacy rights of Apple users.
Owing to concerns expressed by the public over the proposed implementation by Apple, the company has come out to explain what exactly it intends to do with the iOS 15 upgrade. Contrary to the rumors that Apple will create a backdoor through which it would access users’ devices and scan their digital content, the company would employ an algorithm to compare CSAM images to those on the devices of users to identify those breaking the law.
A database of known CSAM images will be downloaded by Apple from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to all of its devices. These images will be converted to strings of numbers or codes. These numbers will be used to compare the images on a user’s device to find out if they pass or fail the CSAM test.
Addressing privacy protection over users’ data
The concern for many users is the knowledge that their data will no longer be under their control. iPhone users will no longer have exclusive rights over their digital photos, even those that are not uploaded on iCloud.
It is also concerning to consider how this development may evolve moving forward. The development further moves power into the hands of major enterprises and governments. With 1 billion Apple users worldwide, the privacy of all of these users is being diminished. Our privacy is increasingly moving into the grasp of governments and companies and few alternatives exist for us to maintain control.
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