Apple’s controversial plan to keep tabs on users’ iPhones will allow governments to spy on people, says a new report by The Guardian. As per the same, client-side scanning (CSS), which is the correct terminology for the tech, is akin to wiretapping, and hence, it is only natural that it should require regulation.
Apple Worrying Users with its Plans
The report delves into how the scanning techniques have their roots in 1976, and ever since then, citizens and world governments (along with law enforcement bodies) have been somewhat at loggerheads with each other, with the former wanting to keep their messages and communications private, while the latter wanting to be privy to them.
As such, it seems rather unsurprising that many parties, including cybersecurity experts, activists, users, and even its own employees, have been calling Apple out ever since it announced back in August that it is planning to roll out a new scanning tool that will help it look through users’ iCloud Photos to find traces of child sexual abuse materials (CSAM), claiming that the same could a weapon in the hands of authoritarian powers, to spy on their citizens.
At the same time, multiple governmental powers and even some parties in the tech industry are already lobbying for the tools to be made mandatory onto smartphones. They argue that instead of making encryption weaker, or allowing law enforcement bodies with data backdoors, CSS will actually provide for on-device data analysis in the open prior to encryption.
Additionally, they also insist that information will be shared with the agencies only if any targeted material is detected. This, they say, is a win-win, as it couples end-to-end encrypted privacy privacy the ability to investigate crime.
At the same time, the primary concern is that since the proposal is to have the tech installed on all smartphones, and not just the ones that belong to suspects or even ex-offenders. As such, it can potentially jeopardize the privacy of law-abiding citizens as well. Nevertheless, CSS just so happens to be the “latest step in the inexorable intrusion” of devices relating to surveillance, into our lives.
The AI Bill of Rights
Interestingly, this comes even as the White House is mulling over a possible “Bill of Rights” pertaining to artificial intelligence, so that users can be protected against the harms that are posed by AI like CSS or facial recognition software.