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Apple removes controversial child abuse detection tool from webpage

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San Francisco, Dec 16 (IANS) Apple has removed all reference to its controversial child sexual abuse material (CSAM) detection feature from its child safety webpage.

Announced in August, the CSAM feature intended to protect children from predators who use communication tools to recruit and exploit them, and limit the spread of Child Sexual Abuse Material.

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It was part of the features including scanning users’ iCloud Photos libraries for Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM), Communication Safety to warn children and their parents when receiving or sending sexually explicit photos and expanded CSAM guidance in Siri and Search.

Two of the three safety features, which were released earlier this week with iOS 15.2, are still present on the page, which is titled “Expanded Protections for Children”.

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However references to the CSAM detection, whose launch was delayed following backlash from non-profit and advocacy groups, researchers and others, have been removed, reports MacRumors.

The tech giant, however, said its position hasn’t changed since September, when it first announced it would be delaying the launch of the CSAM detection.

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“Based on feedback from customers, advocacy groups, researchers and others, we have decided to take additional time over the coming months to collect input and make improvements before releasing these critically important child safety features,” Apple had said in September.

Following the announcement, the features were criticised by a wide range of individuals and organisations, including security researchers, the privacy whistleblower Edward Snowden, Facebook’s former security chief, politicians, etc.

Apple endeavoured to dispel misunderstandings and reassure users by releasing detailed information, sharing FAQs, various new documents, interviews with company executives, and more.

According to reports, an upcoming Apple iOS update will allow parents to protect their children and help them learn to navigate online communication in Messages.

The second developer beta of iOS 15 (iOS 15.2) includes support for its new communication safety feature in Messages.

With this update, Apple Messages will be able to use on-device machine learning to analyse image attachments and determine if a photo being shared is sexually explicit, TechCrunch had reported.

–IANS

na/ksk/

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