Apple To Detect Child Sexual Abuse Material With Its Newest Updates

Tech World

Aug. 9, 2021, 9:43 a.m.

Apple has announced it is taking definite steps to launch a new child safety feature in Messages that will alert parents and children about sexually explicit photos.

This includes new communications safety features in Messages, enhanced detection of Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) content in iCloud, and updated knowledge information for Siri and Search.

As a result of these advancements, Apple will be able to detect known CSAM images on its mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad, as well as in photos uploaded to iCloud.

The new Messages feature is intended to empower parents to take a more active and informed role in guiding their children through the process of learning how to communicate effectively online.

Apple explains that when a child who is in an iCloud Family receives or attempts to send sexually explicit photos, the child will see a warning message. The image will be blurred and the Messages app will display a warning saying the image “may be sensitive.” If the child decides to tap “View photo,” they will see a pop-up message that informs them why the image is considered sensitive.

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As to how this works, Apple explains that Messages uses on-device machine learning to analyze image attachments and make the determination if a photo is sexually explicit. In all this, Apple will not get access to read texts because iMessage remains end-to-end encrypted.

Apple will also make upgrades to Siri and Search. The company will provide the virtual assistant with additional resources to help children and parents stay safe online and get help with unsafe situations. For example, users who ask Siri how they can report CSAM or child exploitation will be pointed to resources for where and how to file a report.

Apple says the new technology will be made available as part of a software update later this year to accounts set up as families in iCloud for iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS. The update will be released later this year.

Apple says the feature will come first to the United States but it hopes to expand elsewhere eventually.


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Verny Joy Author

Verny loves to write poetry, fiction and quotes. Her love for writing landed her in journalism. She loves gadgets and travelling to explore new places.