💬 Friday discussion: Apple’s child protection


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Here we go...

Apple announced some new child-safety measures for future versions of its operating systems. The move reflects a difficult trade-off: on the one hand welcome moves to protect children from undesirable content, such as sexual imagery, and on proactively limiting the spread of images of sexual abuse. Details of how it works are here. Critically, Apple’s system works privately on device, rather than sending your data back to a cloud.

The issues are that the mechanisms Apple is using for these ends can easily be expanded by the firm. And there are few safeguards for doing so. So this could be an unwitting trojan horse that slowly defeats the privacy on our devices, perhaps under the duress of authorities.  (And our devices are, largely, a digital simulacrum of us.) For a good discussion of some of these issues read the interview of Apple’s Head of Privacy here. It is also worth reading what Alex Stamos, the former head of security, and now a researcher, has to say.

For today’s discussion: what do you think of the benefits and risks of Apple’s proposed changes? How should the operators of large infrastructure-like platforms think about these problems?



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