Addressing the concerns related to the new Messages analysis system “Communication Safety in Messages”, Apple assures that it does not break end-to-end encryption in Messages.
In Fall, Apple is set to implement a new Messages analysis system. The new system is designed to analyze sent and received images of accounts of Minors (12 years or younger ) to identify sexually explicit content and prevent the minors from viewing them by blurring the images, giving a warning, and presenting helpful resources. In addition, if a child chooses to view the sexually explicit image, his/her parent(s) are notified.
Although the Messages analysis system is part of the new child safety features, its functionality has raised several privacy concerns including the protection of end-to-end encryption for messages.
The Messages analysis system will not impact end-to-end encryption privacy protection in Messages
In a FAQ document on Communication Safety in Messages and CSAM detection features, Apple clarifies that both systems are different and the Messages analysis system “does not share any information with Apple, NCMEC or law enforcement.” In addition, it will not take away users’ end-to-end encryption privacy protection.
No. This doesn’t change the privacy assurances of Messages, and Apple never gains access to communications as a result of this feature. Any user of Messages, including those with communication safety enabled, retains control over what is sent and to whom. If the feature is enabled for the child account, the device will evaluate images in Messages and present an intervention if the image is determined to be sexually explicit. For accounts of children age 12 and under, parents can set up parental notifications which will be sent if the child confirms and sends or views an image that has been determined to be sexually explicit. None of the communications, image evaluation, interventions, or notifications are available to Apple.
Furthermore, the parents or guardians for minors will only be notified when children will view the sexually explicit content, and will not be notified when children are warned and given a choice to view or not to view the content.
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