Apple has announced new child safety features coming across devices in Fall. Although an appreciative measure to ensure children’s protection from predators, the companies new hashing system to scan users’ messages has raised eyebrows over privacy concerns.
Addressing the concerns, the Cupertino tech giant confirms that Communication Safety is an opt-in feature enabled by parents via Family Sharing, will scan messages of children’s accounts and only parents of children 13 years or younger will be notified.
The upcoming Communication Safety in Messages will introduce new protection tools to warn children when receiving and sending sexually explicit photos. And more importantly notify parents, when a child views or send such material. An on-device machine learning system will scan shared media in messages to detect and blur sexually explicit photos. In addition, a child will be “warned, presented with helpful resources, and reassured it is okay if they do not want to view this photo.”
Apple confirms new Communication Safety feature is opt-in
Giving more precise information on the implementation of the upcoming child safety features, Apple confirmed that the Communication Safety for Messages tools will opt-in and will only scan messages of children’s accounts for sexually explicit photos.
Communication Safety, enabled by a parent on their child’s Apple ID account, will scan photos in the child’s messages app for nudity. On detection, the photo will be blurred and will display an easy-to-understand warning and reassurance, which reads:
“Sensitive photos and videos show the private body parts that you cover with bathing suits. It’s not your fault, but sensitive photos and videos can be used to hurt you.”
If the child chooses to view the photo, his/her parents will be notified. But the parental notifications are available for children under 13 years. Parents of children from 13 to 17 will not be notified.
Furthermore, Communication Safety will not be enabled for Apple ID account of users 18 and above. So, explicit content in their messages app will not be scanned. Click here to read more on Apple Child Safety tools.