Two of the biggest controversies in tech are how to stop the spread of child pornography and other exploitation material, and whether encryption prevents legitimate law enforcement investigations. In an announcement last week, Apple dropped a bomb into both of these debates.
Apple announced that future versions of its iPhone operating system would scan photos its users post to the cloud and automatically detect if those photos contain child exploitation material. If so, Apple would notify the government. While many in law enforcement and in organizations devoted to child safety have hailed Apple's announcement, it has proven hugely controversial among many technologists, security researchers and digital civil society advocates. They worry that Apple’s system will harm privacy and civil rights, especially if governments demand that it be used to scan for content other than child exploitation. To help make sense of all of this, Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Mayank Varia, a cryptographer at Boston University, and Riana Pfefferkorn, a research scholar at the Stanford Internet Observatory.
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