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Apple to roll out photo checking system on country-by-country basis

Apple to not pass iCloud photo uploads to law enforcement if they do not contain child abuse content
Apple to not pass iCloud photo uploads to law enforcement if they do not contain child abuse content   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021
By Reuters

-Apple Inc will roll out a system for checking photos for child abuse imagery on a country-by-country basis, depending on local laws, the company said on Friday.

A day earlier, Apple said it would implement a system that screens photos for such images before they are uploaded from iPhones in the United States to its iCloud storage.

Child safety groups praised Apple as it joined Facebook Inc , Microsoft Corp , Alphabet Inc’s Google in taking such measures. But Apple’s photo check on the iPhone itself raised concerns that the company is probing into users’ devices in ways that could be exploited by governments.

Many other technology companies check photos after they are uploaded to servers.

In a media briefing on Friday, Apple said it will make plans to expand the service based on the laws of each country where it operates.

The company said nuances in its system, such as “safety vouchers” passed from the iPhone to Apple’s servers that do not contain useful data, will protect Apple from government pressure to identify material other than child abuse images.

Apple has a human review process that acts as a backstop against government abuse, it added. The company will not pass reports from its photo checking system to law enforcement if the review finds no child abuse imagery.