Recently, Apple announced that it plans to scan photo libraries on iPhones in the US to check for any images which show child abuse, whether sexual or otherwise. This move has been received well all over the world, but there are numerous people who are concerned about the privacy implications. The thing is, people, avail their Super internet deals for all sorts of content, both positive and criminal. There is a dire need to control the criminal element, as online criminal behavior can be extremely harmful and have horrendous results. Therefore, it is important to consider every implication of any measure tech companies take. These measures have numerous ramifications, which may improve the overall internet experience, but may also result in personal information falling into the wrong hands. In addition, states may not be working within the ambits of human rights and may use surveillance to control their populations in nefarious ways. So, everyone needs to think about this issue deeply and see how Apple’s decision should help control child abuse.

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APPLE TO SCAN US IPHONES FOR CHILD ABUSE IMAGES 

APPLE TO SCAN US IPHONES FOR CHILD ABUSE IMAGES 

WHY CHILD ABUSE IS A PROBLEM ON SMARTPHONES

The internet has brought about a lot of benefits all over the world. However, it also opened up a whole realm of possibilities for criminals. There is a lot more room for deviance and outright sexual perversion. Pedophiles have really made the internet their stalking ground, and have been known to circulate child sexual abuse imagery on the deep web or dark web. In addition, many children now have access to the internet and may even have their own devices. This makes them vulnerable for abusers to approach. Resultantly, many abusers try to get minors to send them inappropriate imagery and also arrange physical meetings. This sort of thing is hard to regulate, and it is tough for parents to constantly keep an eye out for such interactions.  

WHY DO TECH COMPANIES NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY?

Some people believe that it is not the tech companies’ responsibility to protect these minors. However, the whole world needs to work together on child protection, and there is no way this can be done without the companies themselves getting involved. They need to flag such interactions, block the perpetrators, and report them to the appropriate authorities. This is why most online platforms have reporting tools that can be used to alert the platform about such instances. In addition, these companies have the necessary tools and access to scan users’ accounts for such activities. Often, they are not willing to share these accesses in order to protect customer privacy. This is why these companies need to be the first line of defense against pedophilic activities on their platforms.

HOW APPLE’S SURVEILLANCE CAN HELP CURTAIL THE PROBLEM

Apple’s decision has been lauded quite a bit, as it is one of the most well-equipped tech giants out there. In addition, it is the primary smartphone company in the US, so if it surveils iPhones for child abuse imagery, it will be doing so for a majority of the population. This makes it easier to weed out the predators and take the appropriate action accordingly. Furthermore, this surveillance comes with a variety of reporting and moderations mechanisms. This can help curtail the issue to some extent, and also report instances to the appropriate authorities.

WHY ARE PEOPLE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PRIVACY IMPLICATIONS?

The thing with such surveillance measures is that they can go either way. While Apple has the best intentions right now and so does the state, this level of surveillance can be used to control freedoms. It is absolutely needed to control child abuse imagery, but if an authoritarian state or leader decides to use this to detect dissent, things would not end well. These implications can actually be life-threatening, so there needs to be a check and balance for what exactly this surveillance can watch out for. In addition, there need to be laws that determine what sort of action needs to be taken.  

ARE THE PRIVACY ISSUES WORTH THE SAFETY?

Once you think of both sides of the coin, then you can see whether the privacy issues are worth the safety. Safety should be the top concern in such an argument, but they obviously need to be safeguarded in place to prevent the misuse of surveillance technology. So, it’s safe to say that as long as there are appropriate regulations in place, there is absolutely a need for Apple to scan iPhones for child abuse imagery.