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Apple systems scan users’ emails to detect images of child sexual abuse, according to an order

Apple may not be willing to unlock iPhones at the request of the police, but a new order shows that the technology giant is joining forces with officials in other ways.

The document obtained by Forbes, reveals that the company’s system intercepts emails from users and checks for illegal material, with a focus on child sexual abuse.

Apple’s systems use “hashes” to identify photos and videos in messages that may contain illegal content, which are then flagged and quarantined for further investigation.

If it appears that the e-mail in question contains illegal material, it is forwarded to authorities – usually the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Forbes notes that it is not the staff who search e-mails, but a system that uses the same technology as Facebook, Twitter and Google to find child abusers.

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The document, obtained by Forbes, reveals that the company's system intercepts emails from users and checks for illegal material, with a focus on child sexual abuse

The document, obtained by Forbes, reveals that the company’s system intercepts emails from users and checks for illegal material, with a focus on sexual abuse of children

The technology works by making a unique fingerprint, called a hash, for every image that is reported to the foundation and then passed on to internet companies and automatically removed from the net.

Once an email has been sent, a human worker will then view the contents of the file and analyze the message to determine if it should be transferred to the appropriate authorities.

According to Forbes, Apple provided the police with information about the name, address and mobile phone number of the user and the government further asked for his e-mails, text messages, messages and other files stored on his iCloud.

“If we intercept the e-mail with suspicious images, they will not go to the intended recipient,” read the employee’s comments in the order that was submitted in Seattle this week.

Apple’s systems use “hashes” to identify photos and videos in messages that may contain the illegal content, which are then highlighted and quarantined for further investigation (stock)

WHAT ARE “HASHES”?

Forbes notes that it is not the staff who search emails, but a system that uses the same technology as Facebook, Twitter and Google to find child abusers.

The technology works by making a unique fingerprint, called a hash, for every image that is reported to the foundation and then passed on to internet companies and automatically removed from the net.

Once an email has been sent, a human worker will then view the contents of the file and analyze the message to determine if it should be transferred to the appropriate authorities.

‘This person. . . sent eight emails that we intercepted. [Seven] of those e-mails contain 12 images. “

“All seven emails and images were the same, as was the recipient’s email address.”

“The other e-mail contained 4 images that were different from the 12 previously mentioned.”

“The intended recipient was the same.”

“I suspect what happened, he sent these images to himself, and when they didn’t deliver, he sent them again and again.

Either that or he was notified by the recipient that they were not delivered. “

The Apple employee then investigated each of these images of suspected child pornography, according to the Homeland Security Investigations special agent.

The uncovered order shows that Apple is willing to join forces with officials, although it has been pushed back in other ways in the past.

Last month, President Donald Trump accused Apple of refusing to unlock iPhones used by criminals, the day after his attorney general demanded that the company help FBI investigators gain access to devices used by the shooter in a massive shooting at a base in the Florida Navy.

“We help Apple all the time with TRADE and so many other issues, yet they refuse to unlock phones used by killers, drug dealers, and other violent criminal elements,” Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

“They will have to step on the board and help our great country NOW!”

The tweet followed US Attorney General William Barr’s call to Apple to cooperate with the FBI – who had difficulty getting past the coding on two iPhones of Saudi military trainee Mohammed Alshamrani.

Another case occurred in 2016, when the technology giant refused to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters and claimed that it would undermine the encryption by creating a back door that could potentially be used on other future devices.

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