Apple’s privacy disaster: Snowden blows up plan to scan iCloud for child porn images

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has issued a chilling warning about Apple’s plans to scan users’ iPhone photos, saying the proposal will give governments terrifying access to citizens’ private data.

Snowden, a former computer intelligence consultant who leaked classified documents in 2013 to show the extent of government snooping to American citizens, strongly condemned the new plans, saying they set a precedent that will eventually be abused by corrupt politicians. for individual privacy.

He said Apple has taken a dangerous path with their scheme to access users’ photos, and that governments will manipulate the rule to give them more access to data they claim to have access to — such as the presence of a phone owner at a protest.

The Silicon Valley giant scans all photos linked from iPhones to the cloud for child pornography — with images matched against a database at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Apple says users who don’t want their phones scanned can disable the link to the cloud. But many people don’t realize their phones sync with the cloud — and Snowden said 85 percent of iPhone users have their phones set up to sync with the cloud.

He also warned that Apple’s initial opt-out will inevitably be scrapped if its plans go ahead, meaning people’s phones will eventually be owned by corporations and governments, and used to spy on their owners.

The update was announced early this month, and Apple said the latest changes will roll out this year as part of operating software updates for iPhones, Macs, and Apple Watches.

Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked classified information showing the extent to which the US government is spying on its own citizens, has warned about Apple's plan to scan photos of people.

Edward Snowden, who in 2013 leaked classified information showing the extent to which the US government is spying on its own citizens, has warned about Apple’s plan to scan photos of people.

All photos linked to iCloud from your phone will be scanned and if they match images in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's child pornography database, they will be flagged

All photos linked to iCloud from your phone will be scanned and if they match images in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's child pornography database, they will be flagged

All photos linked to iCloud from your phone will be scanned and if they match images in the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s child pornography database, they will be flagged

It marks a turning point for the company, which has long prided itself on — and promoted itself — as a bastion of privacy protection in a world of increasing surveillance.

Apple was one of the first major companies to embrace end-to-end encryption, which encrypts messages so that only their senders and recipients can read them. However, law enforcement has long pressured the company to access that information to investigate crimes such as terrorism or child sexual exploitation.

Snowden, 38, who has lived in Russia since the classified information leaked, said Apple opened Pandora’s Box.

“If Apple demonstrates the ability and willingness to continuously, remotely search any phone for evidence of a certain type of crime, these are questions they will have no answers for,” he warned.

“And yet an answer will come—and it will come from the worst lawmakers from the worst governments.

“This is not a slippery slope. It’s a cliff.’

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long prided himself on his company opposing government demands to hand over data from people's phones.  Snowden urges Apple's new decision to end that protection

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long prided himself on his company opposing government demands to hand over data from people's phones.  Snowden urges Apple's new decision to end that protection

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long prided himself on his company opposing government demands to hand over data from people’s phones. Snowden urges Apple’s new decision to end that protection

Snowden said Apple’s proposal would make it easy for governments to pressure their citizens.

“What happens if a party in India demands that they search for memes related to a separatist movement?” he wrote, on his share pile newsletter.

What happens if the UK demands they scan for a library of terrorist images?

Apple headquarters is pictured in Cupertino.  The company insists that the photos of ordinary people are not singled out, but Snowden is not convinced

Apple headquarters is pictured in Cupertino.  The company insists that the photos of ordinary people are not singled out, but Snowden is not convinced

Apple headquarters is pictured in Cupertino. The company insists that the photos of ordinary people are not singled out, but Snowden is not convinced

“How long do we have before the iPhone in your pocket starts quietly reporting encountering ‘extremist’ political material, or about your presence in a ‘civil disorder’?”

Snowden said Apple intended “to erase the line between which devices work for you and which devices work for them.”

He added: “Once the precedent is set that even a ‘pro-privacy’ company like Apple is appropriate and proper to make products that betray their users and owners, Apple itself will lose all control over how that precedent is set.” applied. ‘​

He pointed out that pedophiles would immediately shut down the institutions, demonstrating that eradicating sex offenders was not the real goal of the new scheme.

“As long as you keep that stuff off their servers, and thus keep Apple out of the headlines, Apple doesn’t care,” he said.

“Apple’s new system, no matter how anyone tries to justify it, will permanently redefine what’s yours and what’s theirs.”

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