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Users express concern as Apple is all set to launch NeuralHash.

Apple is all set to release a technology that will scan the user files to spot child sexual abuse material, following which the case will be reported to authorities concerned. Although the company has been making efforts to ensure the users about privacy and safety, a good majority aren’t very convinced with the claims. The technology which goes by the name NeuralHash will first be launched in the US in the next month.

Apple NeuralHash

What is NeuralHash?

In a society where technology has taken the forefront, it becomes easier to engage in exploitative activities. Alen Turing indeed did a favor to society with his discovery, but it is not free of flows. Thus it becomes crucial that steps are taken to ensure safety and prevent exploitation. The latest technology that is all set to launch is aimed at the protection of children from probable online harm and exploitation. The technology will provide filters that will create a barrier against photos that are sexually explicit. Another feature will also stop the users when they search through Siri and Search for terms that are related to CSAM.

It is a known fact that a good number of cloud services already have a feature in place that scans user filers for illegal content or those that are against the terms of services. However, Apple had long kept away from scanning users’ files. This was by providing the users with the option to encrypt their data. Looks like that resolution has come to an end with NeuralHash.

The news about NeuralHash surfaced on Wednesday, thanks to a couple of tweets by Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at John Hopkins University. (Source: TechCrunch).

Ever since the news was out, many users have been expressions concerns about privacy and safety. Not a surprising response gave the society we are living in where a single crack can give way to massive impacts. Although the technology offers a certain level of promise when it comes to the protection of child safety, one cannot help but wonder what will happen if these files fall into the hands of an authoritarian government. Then, there is every possibility that what was created to prevent exploitation will end up being the tool of large scale exploitation.

People are primarily uncomfortable with the idea of looming surveillance by an algorithm that sounds rather disruptive. And it is quite reasonable that experts are asking for a more public discussion before the app is launched. Another haunting question is the timing of the technology. Why all of sudden the company decided to administer such surveillance? Most of the users cannot help but wonder if the company is giving in to the coercion by the US government. It has been a while since news about the government pressurizing the company to loosen its encryption has been heard around. Although the ultimate goal is noble- to facilitate serious crime investigation- the concerns still persist about the multiple ways in which this can be misused. Here are a few reactions and responses from Twitter following the news.

Perhaps, the phrase to be used here is, “desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Let us hope that the good intentions aren’t obliterated by sinister motives in the long run.

However, not everyone is convinced about the intentions.

 

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